SS Kingston – Dive site
SS Kingston shipwreck at Shag Rock in the Suez Channel is a great dive site combing an accessible wreck penetration with a beautiful soft and hard coral reef. The wreck rests along the reef slope from 5 meter to 15 meter which makes it accessible for less experienced diver and freediver. Just at the Shag Rock reef you have rather often swell and current that could prevent from snorkeling and make the dive more challenging. I joined a fantastic Egypt liveaboard trip and spend 6 days Sinai wreck diving. See all the details.
SS Kingston was built in Sunderland by Oswald Shipbuilding and launched February 16, 1871. The cargo vessel was 78 meter by 10 meter wide. The vessel was a hybrid of sail and stream with a 2 cylinder compound steam-engine and a two-master sailing boat. Such hybrid was a very common at the end of the 19th century. The combination of both delivered a speed of 10 knots. Also very common was to carry cargo and passenger with the same vessel.
Exactly ten years after the first voyage the SS Kingston left Cardiff to Aden. February 16, 1881, the vessel crossed the Suez channel. And after the vessel almost reached the open Red Sea, it struck at calm sea close to Shag reef. 16 crew member were rescued by SS Almona. Meanwhile the captain with seven crew members remained on board trying the rescued the vessel. The attempts were not successful and four days later Captain Cousins and the seven crew member left the sinking vessel and rescued themselves to the Gubal island close by.
For a long time the wreck was unidentified and randomly named Sara H. Only in 1996 the British wreck expert Peter Collings correctly identified the vessel as SS Kingston.
THE DIVE SITE
The vessel sunk at the north side of Shag Rock dive site which is just six sea miles from SS Thistlegorm close to the Sinai peninsula. It sunk upright slope on its keel along the reef and sits straight into the current from 4 to 15 meter depth. Aside stronger current it is an easy dive and even freediver friendly. The depth and the amount of corals on the deck marks it as one of the most amazing wrecks I never saw. The beauty of the dive site is not only the wreck itself but also the coral reef beside the wreck. And it is not a rare encounter to spot turtles, stingrays or even crocodilefish.
I’m not sure if there are any day trips to SS Kingston, but actually I don’t think it make much sense anyway. For me an Egypt liveaboard trip along the Sinai peninsula and exploring the chain of wrecks like SS Thistlegorm or SS Dunraven is a much better choice.
- Maximal depth: 4 to 15 meter
- Length 78 meter, width 10 meter
- Rest upright on its keel
- Abundance of marine life and most beautiful corals
- The name was only discovered 1996 and renamed into SS Kingston