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The Shipwreck of Zabargad

  • The Shipwreck of Zabargad
  • GPS: N 23° 36,854′ E 36° 12,386
  • General Information
  • An interesting but so far unidentified shipwreck rests in a sheltered bay to the west of Zabargad Island. Many rumours circulate about the roughly 70 m long vessel: some say it was a freighter, while others say it was a fishing vessel or even a surveillance ship. Many clues suggest that the latter is correct. Though its origin has never been resolved, the remaining signs within are written in Cyrillic, and in some places also in English, suggesting that it was originally from the former Eastern Bloc. The small size of the cargo holds also make it unlikely that the ship was a freighter. There are however remains of antennas, consoles, and an independent power source in the form of a large number of batteries on board—though much of the equipment was removed some time ago. Furthermore, the vessel’s design is similar to that of Russian ships of the MOMA-class (861M), which, though originally built for scientific exploration, were frequently used as surveillance ships.
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  • The cause and date of the ship’s sinking are unknown. Two large openings are found in the bow and stern, where a lot of water entered, probably leading to the sinking. Whether they came about through sabotage or just a series of unfortunate events is, however, unknown, though the amount of coral growing on the wreck suggests that it must have happened around 1970. A few lifeboats lie on the beach of the bay at the site of the wreck, and though people like to associate them with it, their size makes it is more likely that they came from another ship.
  • Exploring the Wreck The roughly 70 m long wreck is broken in two just behind the bow A. The bow itself rests on its port side, while the remaining ship lies keel downwards with a slight lean on the seabed. Up to the point where it broke A, the wreck is relatively undamaged and lies at a depth of up to 24 m. The bow and the superstructures rise up to about 10 m below the surface, while the mainmast A rises up to 2 m. The wreck’s depth makes it easy to dive to, and you also do not have to worry about the currents within the bay. The hull, deck and superstructures are all covered on the outside with corals and provide excellent photo opportunities. Entrances into the wreck are found all around, and the cargo holds at the bow A, the bridge within the superstructures A and the engine room A is particularly easy to reach. At the bow A and at the stern A, you will find large winches with heavy anchor chains A hanging towards the seabed, and extended davits are found on the middle deck A A from where you can also reach the engine room through the hatches. On the bridge A you can still see the remainders of the helm, the chart room and the control rooms, from where the electronic equipment was run. However, they can only be reached through a narrow stairwell and should therefore be penetrated exclusively by experienced divers. Note that the main mast A is ideal for the safety stop at the end of the dive and offers a magnificent view of the wreck.

  • Tips / Hazards • Interesting and easily explorable shipwreck • Beautiful photo motifs • The interior is mostly spacious • Inexperienced divers should avoid the narrow spaces • The dive site may at times be temporarily closed by the military
  • The Russian Wreck