Explore the Tragic History of the Salem Express Wreck Dive in the Red Sea:
Salem Express is a famous shipwreck located in the Red Sea, Egypt. This dive site is a fascinating underwater attraction and a place of great tragedy. The Salem Express is a somber reminder of the potential dangers of sea travel and a poignant memorial to those who lost their lives in the disaster. In this article, we’ll explore the history of the Salem Express and what you can expect when diving into this incredible wreck.
History of Salem Express
The Salem Express was a ferry between Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Safaga, Egypt. On December 17, 1991, the ferry returned from Mecca with over 600 passengers on board when it hit a reef and sank. The disaster was a tremendous loss of human life, with an estimated 470 to 800 people losing their lives. The exact number of casualties remains unknown due to discrepancies in the passenger manifest and difficulties in identifying remains.
Diving in Salem Express Wreck
Salem Express is often described as a “ghost ship” because of the eerie atmosphere created by the abandoned belongings of the passengers and crew. Divers can find personal items such as clothing, suitcases, and shoes scattered around the wreck. While these items serve as a haunting reminder of the tragedy, they are also a testimony to the human side of the disaster.
The Salem Express Wreck is now a popular dive site for experienced divers, but it is not recommended for beginners due to the area’s depth and often strong currents. The wreck lies at a depth of 32 meters, and the ship’s top is around 18 meters, making it accessible for advanced open-water divers. The boat remains intact and offers a haunting and eerie diving experience. Divers can swim through the ship’s interior and see the remains of the cabins and corridors and the vehicles being transported on board. There is also a memorial plaque outside the ship, a poignant reminder of the tragic loss of life.
Liveaboard trips to Salem Express Wreck
The Salem Express Wreck is often included in liveaboard diving trips in the Red Sea. These trips usually depart from Hurghada or Safaga and take divers on a tour of some of the best dive sites in the area. The Salem Express Wreck is typically the trip’s highlight, and many divers choose to pay their respects by leaving a small tribute or wreath on the memorial plaque on the ship.
Salem Express wreck dive is a must-see for experienced divers visiting the Red Sea. This site is a fascinating underwater attraction and memorial to the hundreds of people who died in the disaster. Diving the Salem Express is a poignant reminder of the fragility of human life and the importance of safety and caution when traveling by sea. It’s no wonder that Egypt’s liveaboard diving tours often include this dive site in their itineraries.
Where is Salem Express?
The location of Salem Express Wreck is 16 kilometers south of Safaga. From Safaga to the dive site is 20 kilometers traveling southeast. The distance between Hurghada and Salem Express is 70 kilometers.
Frequently Asked Questions for Salem Express Shipwreck
The Salem Express Wreck is a deep and challenging dive, and it's recommended only for experienced divers with the appropriate certification and training, such as Advanced Open Water or higher.
The Salem Express Wreck lies at a depth of around 30-40 meters (100-130 feet) and visibility can vary depending on the time of year and weather conditions. It's generally good with a range of 20-30 meters (65-100 feet).
The wreck itself is also interesting to explore, with areas such as the passenger cabins and cargo holds still intact. Many personal belongings, including luggage, toys, and even cars, can be found within the wreck. However, it's important to approach these items with respect and not disturb or remove anything from the site.
Salem Express Wreck is also home to a diverse range of marine life, including barracuda, jacks, groupers, and occasionally reef sharks.
Yes, it's recommended to bring a dive flashlight when diving at the Salem Express Wreck. The interior of the wreck can be dark, and a light is necessary to see the details of the wreckage and any marine life hiding within.
Salem Express Wreck is located in the open sea, and the boat ride to the site can be rough, especially in the early morning when the winds are stronger. The dive itself can also be challenging due to currents and surge, so it's recommended for experienced divers only.
Diving at the Salem Express Wreck can be emotionally challenging due to the tragic history of the ship. It's important to approach the dive with respect and sensitivity to the lives lost in the disaster. As with any deep dive, proper planning, training, and equipment are essential for safety.