DIVE THE ZENOBIA

Zenobia Wreck

For those of you interested in the history of the Zenobia wreck, MS Zenobia was a Swedish built Challenger-class RO-RO ferry launched in 1979 that capsized and sank close to Larnaca, Cyprus, in June 1980 on her maiden voyage. The Zenobia now rests on her port side in approximately 42 metres of water.

History

The Zenobia was built at the Kockums Varv AB shipyard in Sweden and was delivered to her owners Rederi AB Nordö in late 1979. She left Malmo, Sweden on her maiden voyage, bound for Tartous, Syria on 4 May 1980, loaded with 104 trucks with cargo destined for Mediterranean and the Middle East. The Zenobia passed through the Straits of Gibraltar on 22 May 1980, stopping first at Heraklion, Crete and then to Piraeus, Athens, Greece.

On the way to Athens the captain noticed steering problems and the Zenobia began listing to port. Following checks, it was determined the list was caused by excess water that had been pumped into the ballast tanks, this was pumped out and she then departed for her penultimate stop at Larnaca, Cyprus before reaching Syria.

The Zenobia arrived at Larnaca on 2 June 1980, where the ballast problem had reoccurred, engineers discovered that the computerised pumping system was pumping excess water into the side ballast tanks, making the list progressively worse. On 4 June, the Zenobia was towed out of Larnaca harbour to prevent her becoming an obstruction should the worst happen and was left at anchor roughly 1.5 – 2 km offshore. On 5 June, with the Zenobia listing at around 45° the captain dismissed the engineers and maintenance crew and requests from the captain to return her to Larnaca harbour were denied.

At around 2:30am 7 June 1980, the Zenobia capsized and sank in Larnaca Bay to a depth of 42 metres, taking her estimated £200 million worth of cargo with her. According to local legend, the Zenobia’s owners never collected the insurance money and no formal investigation has ever been published into her sinking.

Diving the Zenobia with Dive-In Larnaca

Dive-In Larnaca visits the wreck virtually every day – twice a day and can take you on dives around the outside and the inside of the wreck if you are suitably qualified. Dive with us in small groups on the Zenobia on dives tailored to suit each diver’s qualifications and experience. We also run most of our recreational and technical diving courses on the Zenobia.

For dive prices see Guided Boat Dives or Diving Prices.

Whilst diving around the outside of the Zenobia you can see a wide variety of fish life from large Groupers to Barracudas and tiny Nudibranchs that make the Zenobia their home. The cargo of trucks and their contents have never been salvaged and so are there for you to see lying on the seabed and chained to the decks.

We have a world class 10 dive tour for the hardcore Wreckheads amongst our guests which slowly progresses from and outside tour, through the cargo decks, accommodation and even the engine room for those with the right experience and qualifications.

In the accommodation and captains quarters, with the light zone, you can still see toilets and basins with carpet still attached in some places. The restaurant still contains a drinks machine and the serving hatch is still very much in tact all atop the bright red tartan carpet which is still on part of the floor.

The Upper Cargo deck dive on the Zenobia will show you rusty trucks piled one on top of the other some with their windscreens still in place, whilst in the Middle Cargo deck, the trucks have still retained the colours of their cabs and covers. In many you can still take a peak inside to see the cargo they were carrying! the Middle Cargo deck also holds the Zenobia’s only car, which belonged to the Captain and a forklift. One of our favourite technical routes.

This gives you just a sneak preview of some of the incredible diving available on the Zenobia with us. So why don’t you take Dive-In Larnaca’s Wreckhead Tour of the Zenobia which is available for single cylinder divers as well as technical divers and rebreather (CCR) divers to see the 10 classic dive routes as you work your way into the Zenobia wreck. (All dives are subject to each diver’s experience and qualification).