Today, the Numidia wreck is a popular dive site in the Red Sea and is considered one of the most beautiful shipwrecks in the area. The wooden decking of the ship has disappeared, leaving a steel framework that allows easy access to all parts of the ship. Like the rudder and propeller at the stern, the rear mast is still intact. The diving depth ranges from 8m to 80m+, and the top of the bridge and accommodation deck is the shallowest at 8-12m. Divers can explore the wide-open rearmost holds, large deck winches, lifeboat davits, and engine room air vents. However, the rest of the ship is now covered in thick coral growth, making it a spectacular sight for underwater photographers.
History of the Numidia Wreck
The Numidia was a General Cargo Vessel constructed in 1901 by the Anchor Line of Glasgow. She completed her Maiden voyage from Glasgow to Bombay and Calcutta in February 1901. However, on 6 July 1901, while undertaking the same journey, the Numidia sank after crashing onto the rocks on Big Brother Island.
Sinking of the Numidia
The Numidia was carrying a general cargo of 7,000 tons and a crew of 97 when she departed Liverpool on 6 July 1901. The ship cleared Suez on 19 July 1901, and once in the open Red Sea, Captain John Craig set a course for Big Brother Island. He retired to his cabin, leaving the Second Mate on watch with instructions to be called when the Brothers Light was abeam. Unfortunately, the Second Mate likely fell asleep at his post, failed to keep a good eye, and neglected to call the Master as instructed. At 0200 hrs, the ship crashed onto the rocks on Big Brother Island, less than 500 feet from the Lighthouse. Every effort was made to re-float the ship without success. Captain Craig then remained on the island for seven weeks, salvaging most of the cargo before the Numidia broke, and the rear half sank against the Reef with the stern coming to rest at 80m.
Discovery of the Numidia
Today, the Numidia lies on the seabed of Big Brother Island, north tip, where it has remained at the mercy of successive winter storms. The wooden decking has disappeared, leaving a steel framework that allows easy access to all parts of the ship. The rearmost holds are wide open, and the rear mast is intact as far as the crosstrees. The remaining parts of the ship were aground on a shallow reef and have been reduced to scrap covered in thick coral growth.
Diving in Numidia Wreck
Numidia Wreck is a Fabulous shipwreck that offers an exciting diving experience. The stern rudder and propeller are intact but deep, while the top of the bridge and accommodation deck is shallowest at 8-12m. There are also large engine room air vents – broken and intact – and several large deck winches but no cargo booms. The lifeboat davits on both sides are swung out, making for an impressive sight. The surrounding marine life includes colorful corals, sea fans, and a variety of fish species.
Liveaboard trips to Numidia Wreck
Egypt Liveaboard offers liveaboard trips to Big Brother Island, making it easier for diving enthusiasts to explore the Numidia and other shipwrecks within the Egyptian sector of the Red Sea. Check our route plan for availability.
The sinking of the Numidia in 1901 is a significant part of maritime history. Today, the shipwreck offers an excellent opportunity for divers to explore the underwater world and discover the marine life and historical artifacts surrounding the ship. For more information on this and other shipwrecks in the Egyptian Red Sea, check out Ned Middleton’s award-winning book “Shipwrecks from the Egyptian Red Sea” (ISBN 1898162719 and 1905492162).