Red Sea Wrecks- The El Mina

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T43 Class Minesweeper

T43 Class Minesweeper

Type- T43 class Minesweeper

Built- Soviet Union

Launched-  One of 178 built for The Soviet Union and her allies during the 1950’s and 60’s.

Weight- 570 tons

Dimensions- Length- 60m  Beam- 8.5m

Armament- 4x 37mm anti aircraft guns (2x twin barrel), 1 depth charge launcher, up to 32 mines

Sank- 6th June 1967

Location- Hurghada Bay

Cause- Missile strike

History- Widely reported as sinking in 1969 or 1970, an eyewitness account puts the sinking of the El Mina back a few years, sunk by an Israeli fighter the day after the Israli airforce attacked airfields in Egypt, Jordan and Syria on the out break of the Arab- Israeli Six Day War. The attack tore two large holes in the ship sinking her quickly, there were no reported deaths.

The Dive- The El Mina now lies on her port side in 30m of water with her starboard side at approximately 22m. As a relatively small wreck it is easy to cover the entire site in one dive, however, because of it’s depth it is important to pay attention to air supply and bottom time more frequently.

The visibility on the wreck was around 15m when I dived it. The surrounding reef is totally gutted and we saw no sign of living coral on the bottom which is still home to the odd moray eel as well as other hardy species. On the wreck itself there is alot more life with Lionfish patrolling the outside, Crocodilefish lying, on the hull waiting for lunch to wonder along and the interior is packed with glass fish and cave sweepers hiding from the hungry predators waiting outside for them. There is also a Giant Moray hiding near the stern.

Access into the wreck is very easy with two large holes ripped out of the hull and several open hatchways, this is only recommended to those with the proper training and equipment as the inside is heavily silted and there is alot of debris lying around including strong wires hanging down in some areas which increase the risk of entanglement. Having said that, the two holes in the wreck are facing the surface and it is relatively safe to descend down into these a few metres keeping the exit directly above you to have a look around.

Other than the usual hazards of penetrating a wreck and odd areas with sharp jagged pieces of metal, there are no other real hazards on this site and it is a safe and enjoyable dive. It is easy to get caught up in the dive and forget you depth so again, it is important to remember to check your air and bottom time more frequently.

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published on May 9, 2011 by jason
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