The Salem Express was with 1105 gross register tons and a length of 100 meters one of those typical, large ferry boats, which are often used in the Middle East. It was equipped with two engines, and the drive was carried out by two shafts and propellers.
It was a tragic navigational mistake, which caused the demise of the Salem Express. The ship came from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and wanted to call at the port of Safaga. Only eleven kilometers away from the port of destination, the ferry ran aground at full speed on the westernmost coral block of the Hyndman reef.
A 10 meter long hole had been torn into the front part of the hull, whereby the enormous bow flap of the ship jumped up. Through these two openings, enormous quantities of water was able to penetrate and it sank in only a few minutes. From the 690 passengers only 180 survived the accident.
- The dive begins at the stern.
- The powerful magnitude of the port propeller are impressive. Here within the stern area, one can find the remnants of the sun roof made from corrugated iron, just as well preserved are the bollards, the ships ropes, the exhaust fire-places and the winches.
- One swims along the port side, to the well preserved main deck as well as to the sundeck. Further towards the bow, one reaches the first constructional systems, and after 15 meters one arrives at two davits. If one swims here into the deep, one arrives at the life rafts, which are extended out, but still hang on the ropes.
- Already from a certain distance one recognizes the two large funnels, on which both bears the enormous letter “S”.
- From here it goes to the bridge directly over the main deck. On their roof the antennas are still intact as is a large radar display screen. Through the windows of the bridge one can get a view of the inside. After the bridge one turns to the front deck and the main hatch, from which an enormous anchor is protruding out.
- It’s taken for granted that it’s understood, that one does not attempt to penetrate into the passenger compartments. It goes without saying however, that respect must be paid to the hundreds of dead.