print dive site review | contribute site info / photo
Scuba Diving in Fury Shoals, Marsa Alam, the Red Sea
Dive Site: Tienstin Wreck
Location: Abu Galawa Kibeer, Fury Shoals, Marsa Alam
Description: Chinese tugboat
Length: 35 metres (115 feet)
Depth: 18 metres (57 feet)
Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
This is an excellent dive, the Tienstin is a small Japanese tug boat and is covered with hard and soft corals. Inside she is full of glassfish and a resident red mouth grouper also lives here.
The wreck lies at approximately a 45 degree angle with the stern sitting in the sand at the bottom of the reef and the bow rests shallow on the reef top. This is a wreck that is now totally infested with colourful reef life of all kinds.
Just behind the bow you will find a break in the reef that leads to a fair sized cavern. This is nice to swim in as the sun shines down, to admire the red rock morphology formed by the waves. However there is not much life in here - it is just something else to explore. We also saw Red Sea groupers, teeny pipefish and a variety of parrotfish and surgeonfish on this dive.
This is a reasonably sheltered site so we were able to do a night dive here. Having explored it already in the day it was fascinating to come back and see how different the Tienstin looks at night. The first thing to notice is that all the glassfish disappear from inside the wreck but I have absolutely no idea where they had gone! This left the inside of the wreck empty, shining my torch I came across the toilet where a parrotfish had made a mucus bed on top of it. At night we saw a snowflake moray eel and a beautiful Spanish dancer was rhythmically floating around as well as lots more pipefish, a few lionfish and many feather stars. The cave is nice and atmospheric to pop into. This is an easy fun dive with lots of photo opportunities.
Carina Hall, PADI Divemaster
Tienstin Wreck Resources
Have done this as a dusk dive into a night dive. Jumping in near to the wreck we had a fin about then swam to the left following the reef, to return when the darkness descended to make two dives on this wreck. Nice easy dive well sheltered good for night diving. Similar to the Barge at Bluff Point in my opinion. Ideal liveaboard night dive.
Ian Higgins, PADI Assistant Instructor
Abu Galawa Kibeer is a large crescent shaped reef with a turquoise blue lagoon or pool enclosed within the reef towards its leeward side. Galawa is the name which refers to the colour of the turquoise blue pool. Abu in Arabic means "Father" and Kibeer means "Big" or "Large". Therefore a rough translation of this site name would be - Big Father of Turquoise Blue Water. This reef has several ergs and other reef pieces off both its east and west ends. To the south of the west tip are several large reef pieces, the first of which has a Chinese tugboat wreck called the Tien Hsing resting on it. Most often referred to as the Tienstin wreck, she was built in the shipyards of Shanghai in the Peoples Republic of China by Ta Chung Hua in 1935. Travelling south from Suez to Massawa she is thought to have struck the reef and sank on 26th October 1943.
Around 35 metres in length, her bow is firmly implanted in the reef wall and still breaks the surface. She lists heavily to starboard lying lengthwise up against the reef with her stern at the base of the reef in 17m of water. The surface can be rough where the bow still protrudes at low water, so a zodiac or RIB may drop you just further along the reef, where you can descend and swim to the wreck. Alternatively your dive boat may moor on the south side of the west tip and you can swim south west to the wreck. The seafloor is a flattish 16 to 17m deep and there can be current which normally runs north to south which at times makes for an energetic swim. The keel of the wreck appears intact and it's possible to swim right underneath between the base of the reef and the keel itself. There is a huge amount of coral growth on the top of the port side of the wreck in the shallows. Two doorways on the starboard side provide easy access from the gunnels into the upper cabin and ultimately the engine room, where the engine and boilers are intact. Shoals of sweepers / glassfish fill this interior area and part in formation as you pass within their midst. A metal ladder leads down into the lower part of the engine room. A third doorway (working bow to stern) at the rear of the starboard side contains the ships head (toilet) where the toilet itself is till very much in place. This wreck is a great night dive where the coral colours really come into their own under the light of a diver's torch. Due to the current and surface conditions it may not always be possible to night dive on the wreck itself whilst spending the night here; however the west tip of the main reef also provides a good, secluded, night dive spot, with large sleeping parrotfish and a very good chance of Spanish Dancers.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
view more Tienstin Wreck photos
Do you have any comments on this dive site?
print dive site review | contribute site info / photo | top
Do you run a dive operation in this area?
Click here to find out more about being listed on this
page in dive site directory.