SS Dunraven

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Career (United Kingdom) Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom
Builder: C.Mitchell and C. Iron Ship Builders
Launched: 1873
Homeport: Newcastle, England
Fate: Sunk 22 April 1876
Status: Wreck
General characteristics
Tonnage: 1600 gt
Length: 81.6 m
Beam: 9.8 m
Installed power: Two Cylinder Steam Engine
Propulsion: Mixed Steam and Sail
Speed: 8 Knots

The SS Dunraven was built in Newcastle upon Tyne at the C.Mitchell and C. Iron Ship Builders, launched in 1873 the ship was owned by a Mr W Milburn. Powered by both sail and steam the ship was planned to ply the route from Britain to Bombay.

3 years later in January 1876 she set sail from Liverpool loaded with steel and timber she sailed for Bombay where the cargo was sold and she was reloaded with Spices, Cotton and Muslin for the return journey. It was generally an uneventful journey and she reached the Red Sea approaches to the Suez Canal on 25 April. Thinking they were further up the Gulf of Suez than they actually were Captain Care and the 25 man crew sailed the ship straight into the reef. The ship stuck fast south of Beacon Rock at the southern end of the furthest reaches of what is now the Ras Mohammed National Park on the outside of Sha'ab Mahmoud. The crew worked frantically to dislodge her and 14 hours after striking the rock she slid off, unfortunately this motion up set her balance and she capsized.

She sunk quickly then into 25 metres of water, leaving the crew to be rescued from the life boats by local fisheremen. After the incident the British Board of Trade held an immediate enquiry and found Captain Care to have been at fault. The board declared him negligent and revoked his Captain's license, the Master's Certificate, for a year.

Dive Site

The wreck was known to local fishermen for generations as the shallow depth would cause their nets to snag but it was only re-discovered to the general populace in 1977 when a German Oil company employee re-discovered the site. The ship was dived on soon afterwards and many wide theories appeared about it suggesting it was a World War I ship that operated on behalf of Lawrence of Arabia. Then a piece of porcelain was found with the name SS Dunraven upon it showing its real origin. Legends still surround the wreck as there are stories of the wreck being caused due to an argument between the drunk Captain and his promiscuous wife.

Since its rediscovery the wreck has become a popular dive site due to its shallow depth. The wreck has largely broken up as it lies upside down upon the reef but there are three large holes in the hull which allow divers to penertrate the wreck and examine the two large boilers and host of fallen metal work. In part due to the shallow depth an abundance of reef fish can be found around it, Glassfish, Groupers, Jackfish, Scorpionfish and Crocodilefish can all be seen around the ruptures in the hull.

27°25′17″N 34°04′23″E / 27.4215°N 34.0730°E / 27.4215; 34.0730Coordinates: 27°25′17″N 34°04′23″E / 27.4215°N 34.0730°E / 27.4215; 34.0730

See also

List of shipwrecks

de:Dunraven (Schiff) pl:SS Dunraven