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Scuba Diving in the Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan, the Red Sea
Dive Site: Cedar Pride
Location: N29°25'47.84"; E34°58'20.02", Jordan
Description: 1,161 ton cargo vessel wreck
Length: 74 metres (243 feet)
Depth: 9 - 27 metres (30 - 900 feet)
Visibility: 20 metres (65 feet)
Launched in 1964 at the S.A. Juliana Constructora in Gijon Spain as the Mone Dos, this 74 metre long general cargo vessel of 1,161 tons served the Naviera Anzar Shipping Company of Bilbao until 1969 when she became the Puerto De Pasajes, with a further name change in 1978 to the San Bruno. She was then purchased by the Lebanese Cedar Pride shipping company and took on the company name, her fourth and last. In July 1982 she arrived at the Jordanian port of Aqaba and on August 2nd while at anchor and in ballast, a fire spread rapidly through her engine room and accommodation areas, killing two of the crew. Fire damage left the ship as a total constructive loss, although her hull was still intact and she was still afloat. For the next three years she remained a floating hulk, with no one accepting the responsibility for her mooring and harbour fees.
The King of Jordan himself, a keen diver, took an interest in the vessel and a plan was hatched to sink the ship in the hope it would become a part of the reef and a habitat for the rich marine life living in this quiet little backwater of the Red Sea. The ship was prepared by the port; oil was pumped off, hazards removed and so on. HRH Prince Abdullah was the patron for this project and arrived about a week before the sinking to survey and pick one of the sites. As a very keen diver HRH was very aware of the requirements and difficulties faced in picking a suitable site in such a deeply sloping area of coastline. It was eventually scuttled on November 16th 1985 and has since been described as one of the most photogenic wrecks in the Red Sea.
She now has over 20 years of coral growth draping over her and rests towards the deeper end of Rainbow Reef. She lies on her port side with the bow facing north about 130m from the shoreline. There is a permanent mooring buoy fixed to her stern which is maintained by the Aqaba Marine Park. With a maximum depth of 25m and the top of the mast reaching up to 7m she makes a great dive for all experience levels. Access to the interior cabins and engine room is possible for those with appropriate training.
Dive Aqaba encourages divers to night dive the wreck, which is easily accessible from shore via the Marine Parks' Visitor Centre. Lobsters, lionfish, morays and spanish dancers all come out on the reef and the wreck herself is spectacular. 12 hours notice is required for night dives and Navy personal have to be present when conducting them.
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