MS Zenobia

Last updated
MS Zenobia listing.jpg
Zenobia listing in June 1980
Owner: Rederi AB Nordö [1]
Port of registry:Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden [2]
Builder: Kockums Varv AB, Sweden [1]
Acquired: Late 1979 [1]
Maiden voyage: May/June 1980
Identification: IMO number:  7806087 [3]
Fate: Sank close to Larnaca on 7 June 1980
General characteristics
Type:Challenger-class Roll-on/roll-off ferry
Tonnage: 10,000  GRT [3]
Length: 172.2 m (565 ft)
Beam: 28 m (92 ft) [3]
Draught: 13.01 m (42.7 ft) [3]

MS Zenobia was a Swedish built Challenger-class RO-RO ferry launched in 1979 that capsized and sank in the Mediterranean sea, close to Larnaca, Cyprus, in June 1980 on her maiden voyage. [1] [4] She now rests on her port side in approximately 42 meters (138 ft) of water and was named by The Times , and many others, as one of the top ten wreck diving sites in the world. [4]

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund Strait. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. The capital city is Stockholm. Sweden has a total population of 10.3 million of which 2.5 million have a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi) and the highest urban concentration is in the central and southern half of the country.

Larnaca Place in Larnaca District, Cyprus

Larnaca is a city on the southern coast of Cyprus and the capital of the eponymous district. It is the third-largest city in the country, after Nicosia and Limassol, with a metro population of 144,200 in 2015.

Cyprus Island country in the Mediterranean

Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and Palestine, north of Egypt, and southeast of Greece.



Zenobia was built at the Kockums Varv AB shipyard in Sweden and was delivered to her owners Rederi AB Nordö in late 1979. [1] She left Malmö, Sweden on her maiden voyage, bound for Tartous, Syria on 4 May 1980, loaded with 104 tractor-trailers with cargo destined for Mediterranean and the Middle East. [2] She passed through the Strait of Gibraltar on 22 May 1980, stopping first at Heraklion, Crete and then to Piraeus, Athens, Greece. [2] On the way to Athens the captain noticed steering problems and Zenobia began listing to port. [2] Following checks, it was determined the list was caused by excess water that had been pumped into the ballast tanks; this water was pumped out and she then departed for her second to last stop at Larnaca, Cyprus before reaching Syria. [2]

Malmö Place in Scania, Sweden

Malmö is the largest city of the Swedish county of Skåne County, the third-largest city in Sweden, after Stockholm and Gothenburg, and the sixth-largest city in Scandinavia, with a population of 316,588 inhabitants out of a municipal total of 338,230 in 2018. The Malmö Metropolitan Region is home to over 700,000 people, and the Øresund Region, which includes Malmö, is home to 4 million people.

Syria Country in Western Asia

Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandeans and Turkemens. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Isma'ilis, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, Yazidis, and Jews. Sunnis make up the largest religious group in Syria.

Middle East region that encompasses Western Asia and Egypt

The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest Middle Eastern nation while Bahrain is the smallest. The corresponding adjective is Middle Eastern and the derived noun is Middle Easterner. The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East beginning in the early 20th century.

She arrived at Larnaca on 2 June 1980, [1] where the ballast problem had reoccurred, engineers discovered that the computerized pumping system was pumping excess water into the side ballast tanks due to a software error, making the list progressively worse. [2] On 4 June, Zenobia was towed out of Larnaca harbor to prevent her becoming an obstruction should the worst happen [2] and was left at anchor roughly 1–1.5 miles (1.5–2 km) offshore. [2] On 5 June, with the ship listing at around 45° the captain dismissed the engineers and maintenance crew and requests from the captain to return her to Larnaca harbor were denied. [2]

A software bug is an error, flaw, failure or fault in a computer program or system that causes it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways. The process of finding and fixing bugs is termed "debugging" and often uses formal techniques or tools to pinpoint bugs, and since the 1950s, some computer systems have been designed to also deter, detect or auto-correct various computer bugs during operations.

At around 2:30am 7 June 1980, Zenobia capsized and sank in Larnaca Bay at 34°53.5′N33°39.1′E / 34.8917°N 33.6517°E / 34.8917; 33.6517 (1.500 meters from the shore) to a depth of roughly 42 meters (138 ft), [2] taking her estimated £200 million worth of cargo with her. [2] [5] There were no casualties in the disaster.

Wreck diving

The wreck is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 recreational dive sites worldwide. [6] [7] [8] [9] As a dive site, Zenobia provides a wide range of challenges to scuba divers, from a fairly simple dive to 16 meters (52 ft) depth along the starboard side of the ship (suitable for newly qualified divers); moving up to a more advanced dive inside the upper car deck and accommodation block, right up to extremely adventurous dives within the lower car deck or the engine room (which are only suitable for very experienced divers). [10] [11] [12] [13]

Recreational dive sites Specific places that recreational divers go to enjoy the underwater environment or are used for training purposes

Recreational dive sites are specific places that recreational scuba divers go to enjoy the underwater environment. They include recreational diver training sites and technical diving sites beyond the range generally accepted for recreational diving. In this context all diving done for recreational purposes is included. Professional diving tends to be done where the job is, and with the exception of the recreational diving service industry, does not generally occur at specific sites chosen for their easy access, pleasant conditions or interesting features.

Scuba diving Using bottled air to swim underwater

Scuba diving is a mode of underwater diving where the diver uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba), which is completely independent of surface supply, to breathe underwater. Scuba divers carry their own source of breathing gas, usually compressed air, allowing them greater independence and freedom of movement than surface-supplied divers, and longer underwater endurance than breath-hold divers. Although the use of compressed air is common, a new mixture called enriched air (Nitrox) has been gaining popularity due to its benefit of reduced nitrogen intake during repetitive dives. Open circuit scuba systems discharge the breathing gas into the environment as it is exhaled, and consist of one or more diving cylinders containing breathing gas at high pressure which is supplied to the diver through a regulator. They may include additional cylinders for range extension, decompression gas or emergency breathing gas. Closed-circuit or semi-closed circuit rebreather scuba systems allow recycling of exhaled gases. The volume of gas used is reduced compared to that of open circuit, so a smaller cylinder or cylinders may be used for an equivalent dive duration. Rebreathers extend the time spent underwater compared to open circuit for the same gas consumption; they produce fewer bubbles and less noise than open circuit scuba which makes them attractive to covert military divers to avoid detection, scientific divers to avoid disturbing marine animals, and media divers to avoid bubble interference.

There was a truckload of frozen animals on board when the ship went down so the bones of the animals can be seen on the second car deck.[ citation needed ] There is also a full cargo of eggs that lies on the sea bed 42 meters (138 ft). [1]

Eight scuba divers have lost their lives diving on Zenobia in the years after she sank.

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The following index is provided as an overview of and topical guide to recreational dive sites:


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Forgotten Sister - The Zenobia Story". Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "Zenobia History". Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Diving the Zenobia shipwreck". Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  4. 1 2 Ecott, Tim (3 March 2007). "World's best wreck diving". London: The Times . Retrieved 9 November 2009.
  5. The Story About The Zenobia Shipwreck Cyprus
  6. Deeper Blue: Top 10 Wreck Dives In The World
  7. Leisure Pro: World’s Top 10 Wreck Dives
  8. Scuba Travel: Ten Best Dive Sites in Europe
  9. Dive In: Diving in Europe: 10 Best Dive Sites
  10. We Heart Diving: MS Zenobia Wreck
  11. TriBloo: MS Zenobia
  12. Dive Site Directory: Dive Site Zenobia
  13. Trip Advisor: Zenobia Wreck

Coordinates: 34°53′22″N33°39′03″E / 34.8894°N 33.6508°E / 34.8894; 33.6508