The Alaska was as a refrigerated cargo ship, or “Reefer” ship, of 1,012 GRT built at Corcho Hijos shipbuilding, Santander, Spain. The ship was launched 22 June 1959 and completed the following November with a length of 82 meters, beam of 12.3 meters with a single diesel engine connected to a single shaft for a speed of 13 knots.

Originally registered under the Spanish flag, the ship was renamed in 1967 as the Lago Negro. It is not known if the ship was sold or re-flagged at this time.

In 1975, she was re-named Anubis, then in 1980 as the Reefer Express. And then finally, also in 1980, the ship was renamed Alaska II and was registered as being flagged in Egypt.

Mr. Peter Collings located and identified the ship, and according to the information posted on the site, the Alaska was employed by the Oversea Reefers Carriers Marine Company for scheduled delivery of meats to Saudi Arabia. (Still looking for another reference to confirm this.)

The ship was returning from Jeddah to Suez when a fire broke out onboard as the ship had just entered the Gulf of Suez on 08 April 1986. An explosion happened where there were 2 casualties and 9 people injured. The ship sank at approximate position 27.47N/33.51E in 10-meters of water on the west side of Sha’ab Ai in about 10 minutes after the explosion.

Diving Information

The wreck lies in 10 meters of water lying on its port side. The port anchor and chain are still visible, along with anchor windlass on the foc’sle. The ship’s masts (there are two) lie beside the ship along with ladders and other components of the ship. The ship was carrying a cargo of granite slabs which may have been foundations for the reefer units. Sets of refrigeration heat exchangers, brass porthole storm covers, and glass lightports lie scattered about. A spare propeller lies amidships. The stern area is fairly intact and inside a storeroom can be found some spare parts for the ship. The aft superstructure appears to be missing however.




About Author

Lee has been in the marketing industry for the last 15 years and now specializes in teaching marketing techniques to people in the scuba diving industry. He is founder of Dive Media Solutions which, in addition to providing complete marketing, media, communications and IT solutions exclusively for the scuba diving industry, also produces The Scuba News. You can connect with Lee via Twitter by following @DiveMedia

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