The AL Qamar AL Saudi AL Misr was originally built as the 7,697 GRT Roll On/Roll Off PAX-ferry Trekroner built at Cant. Nav. del Tirreno e Riuniti, Riva Trigoso, Genoa, Italy (Yard No. 281) for Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskab (translation: The United Steamship Company), Copenhagen, Denmark. The keep was laid in April 1967, she was launched 27 March 1970, and she was completed on 30 March of the same year. With a crew of 67, the ship was capable of carrying 718 passengers and 120 automobiles.
The ship was 124.85 meters in length and 19.31 meters in beam, powered by twin 12-cylinder B & W 1242-VT2BF-90 diesel engines connected to two shafts for a maximum speed of 21 knots.
The Trekroner departed Genoa, Italy on 30 April 1970 enroute to Copenhagen, arriving on 07 May 1970. Operated from 10 May-31 July 1970 between Copenhagen and Aalborg, Denmark. From 01 August until 31 September, operated on the Copenhagen-Helsingborg-Aalborg route.
In October 1970, the ship was modified at Anciens Etablissement Groignard S. A. Marseille, France, where additional staterooms were added which reduced the passenger carrying capability from 718 to 622 passengers.
On 04 June 1971 the ship was renamed Dana Corona operating from 25 June 1971 until 03 March 1979 between Genoa, Palma, Malaga, and Ibiza/Tunis.Renamed Dana Sirena on 19 November 1979, operating between Ancona Patras, Iraklion, Alexandria until 06 December 1982 when the ship returned to Copenhagen to be decommissioned.
On 18 June 1994 was on the return trip from Jeddah to Suez with 527 passengers and 63 crew onboard, when late during the evening a boiler explosion occurred which is said to have started a major fuel oil leak in the engine room which ignited. The resulting fire quickly spread throughout the rest of the vessel. A “Mayday” was sent from the ship and various vessels responded to the call for assistance. Lifeboats were lowered and passengers began jumping overboard to escape the spreading fire. The USS Briscoe, a US Navy Destroyer, was the ship nearest to the Al-Misr at 25-miles away, raced to the scene and acted as the On-Scene Command Center during the rescuing of passengers and crew.
The Al-Qamar Al-Saudi Al-Misr burned throughout the rest of the night and eventually sank the following morning at position 27.31 180N/33.51 670E in 83 meters of water with a total of 50 injuries, 8 confirmed casualties, and 13 missing and later declared dead.
Rescue efforts were also undertaken by the USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG-29), and the collection ship for the injured/deceased was the USNS Henry J Kaiser. Thanks to Eric Binge for this extra bit of information. Eric was a groves sailor and registered EMT and was flown from the Groves to the Kaiser to assist by an SH-60 Helicopter.
This is one for the Technical Divers out there. The wreck was located in August 2006 by Mr. Paul Vinton, a Tekstreme Supervisor at Emperor Divers, Hurghada and his team of technical divers. Mr. Vinton has posted an article on diving the wreck of the Al-Qamar Al-Saudi Al-Misr.