The Giannis D Shipwreck


The picture

This shot was taken a few years ago on a dive trip to the northern Red Sea. I haven’t looked at it for a long time but saw it while searching for some images on my archives and decided to post it here along with part of the text I wrote at the time about my experience on diving the wreck. The shot was taken on film with Fujichrome Provia 100 with a Nikon F5 on an Aquatica housing. I used the Nikkor 16mm fisheye with ambient light. It’s a fairly simple shot with the big challenge to find the best time frame when there are no divers messing the shot. The two small divers far away from the camera, help for scale but since it’s a busy place with all the diving, getting a clean shot took me around 20 minutes of bottom time, which is almost half of the dive.

The image is now available for licensing at Alamy.


The Shipreck

Built in 1969 in Japan, this 99.5 meter freighter was launched into the sea under the name Shoyo Maru, with which it responded until 1975 when it was sold and renamed Markos. Later in 1981, it was bought by a Greek shipowner who gave it his last name Giannis, the D being the initial of the Greek shipping company Danae.
Although it is possible to find references and stories more or less well told about the causes of the incident that victimized this ship, the truth is that the reasons for its collision with the Abu Nuhâs reef, even on the Carnatic side, will continue to be a complete mystery.
Your last trip from Rijeka to Croatia was to the port of Hodeidah
off the coast of Yemen, but leaving part of the timber cargo at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The trip across the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean took place as expected. After the necessary inspections, the crossing of the Suez Canal proceeded, as usual, assisted by a Canal pilot who was landed near Suez. The Giannis continued its journey south with the next obstacle to overcome the reefs in the area of ​​the Gubal Strait, where it would hit the dawn of 19 April 1983.
The crew members were all evacuated with no victims to mourn.
The first dive at Giannis D was done on the very day of the accident by Peter Collings and Lawson Wood, who was nearby aboard Lady Jenny, one of the few liveaboards that existed at the time in the Red Sea. The dive
Falling in the water, adjusting the equipment, and looking down when you dive in Giannis for the first time is an unforgettable experience. With the crane’s masts reaching 5 meters deep, the feeling is that we can touch it just by reaching out, such is the visibility. Under the masts, the entire aft section remains intact and is perfectly visible from the surface, in its slanting position on the port side.
The wreckage is aligned parallel to the reef and split in half, with the stern being the area of ​​greatest interest. Despite being a recent wreck, it is fascinating and above all, very photogenic dive.
The image of the stern with its characteristic inclination at about 45º is one of the most photographed and one of the most used images in books and other publications about shipwrecks in the Red Sea. As the deepest part is the stern, it is worthwhile to start exploring there, without forgetting to move a few meters away from the boat to be able to enjoy the magnificent view that can be had from the entire aft. This view is even more beautiful in the afternoon when the sun illuminates this area. It is worthwhile to travel the whole boat swimming beside you with a distance of a few meters, because only then can you see some details impossible to detect in a closer observation.
Inside the ship, it is possible to explore several areas, especially the engine room, where it is possible to find a school of resident glassfish that inhabits the ventilation duct. One of the possible entrances is precisely through the windows at the base of the enormous chimney. The bridge and the other rooms are empty, which makes the visit uninteresting, but you can always meet some Lyon fish or a glassfish school.
In the middle section, where the basements were now completely destroyed, it is possible to observe the remains of the wood cargo. The bow, although much more destroyed than the stern, deserves a visit on a second dive.

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