Article published on Thursday, April 10, 2014 . Written by Amar and Isabelle Guillen

The wreck of Umbria in the Red Sea off Sudan

The wreck of Umbria is undoubtedly one of dreams to fulfill for any underwater photographer who loves historic shipwrecks. The Umbria contains about 360,000 bombs equivalent to 6,000 tonnes, 60 detonators boxes, bags of cement, building materials, few cars of the Fiat brand. It lies within 10 minutes of sailing from Port Sudan near Wingate Reef.

June 10, 1940, the captain of the Umbria, learns by radio that Italy has to go to war against England, which then occupies the Sudan. The boat is anchored near Port Sudan. The ship made ​​a stop while en route to Eritrea to supply the Italian troops. The captain decided to scuttle his ship to avoid the English seized the cargo. No casualties will be reported.

The Umbria whose original name is Bahia Blanca was launched December 30, 1911. It could carry 2,000 passengers and 9,000 tons of cargo. In 1935, the Bahia Blanca changed her name and function. The ship became a troop carrier.

Today, the wreck of the Umbria is inclined port about thirty meters deep. Starboard davits flush with the surface and the edge of the ship is 3 meters below the surface. It is impressive with a length of 153 meters (450 feet), a width of 18 meters (54 feet) and a draft of 10.8 meters (33 feet). She is in perfect condition because it is sheltered from storms and strong currents. It is necessary to make at least 4 dives to explore her completely. Stern with huge starboard propeller requires a single dive to make interesting pictures. Angles shots are very varied. The bow is also impressive. With the sun on south or west, a perspective on the whole wreck is possible if the visibility is good. Chocks are full of treasures as bombs, guns and ammunition, bottles of wine, cars Fiat 1100 Ballila. The hardest part is undoubtedly to find the entrance to get to the restaurant. Lights that filter through the windows give a cozy unreal atmosphere. Access to the engine room is difficult with a bulky photographic equipment because the passages are very narrow.

All techniques are possible to make pictures of Umbria: scenery in natural light or mixed light, close-ups, macros. The changing in the corridors are beautiful.

The wreck of Umbria is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful historic shipwrecks in the world. This is a dive into history and a surreal journey through time.

Click on a thumbnail to enlarge the image.

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