JANUARY 2011: My Surface Interval named one of the best scuba diving blogs

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Container ship runs aground on Woodhouse Reef in Straits of Tiran

Worrying news from Sharm El Shiekh after a large cargo vessel ran aground on Woodhouse Reef, in the northern Red Sea.

The 260m-long, Hong Kong-flagged CSCL Hamburg hit the reef, one of four popular sites in the Straits of Tiran on the morning of New Year’s Eve, while en route to Singapore.

While the extent of damage to corals has yet to be officially assessed, divers have reported widescale devastation in the area where the ship ploughed into the beautiful reef.

Underwater cameraman Tom Osborn dived there on January 2 and told Dive Magazine: "All of the reef in the area of the collision has been destroyed. It resembles a chalk quarry with fresh white lumps of rock scattered everywhere.

"An area approximately 30m wide and 20m long has tumbled away in sections down the steep slope of Woodhouse Reef like an avalanche, destroying any living coral below to a depth of at least 45m."

Tom Osborn video

It is thought the ship could have caused more damage to the reef near the surface after the tides swung the vessel 180 degrees.

John Kean, a Sharm El Sheikh-based PADI and TDI diving instructor told Divernet that the ship tried to navigate between the middle two reefs, Woodhouse and Thomas, possibly after trying to avoid a small craft.

Lovilla (aka Lillia) October 2009

Having dived beneath the wreck of the Lovilla (aka Lullia) on nearby Gordon Reef last October, I can imagine the damage. She ran aground in September 1981 and is slowly crumbling into the sea. Beneath her the reef is deeply scarred as debris, both from the wreck itself and also from the damaged reef, has plunged into the deep scouring channel from the reef on it's way down.

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