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Hey Daroma

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Hey Daroma at The Red Sea Wreck Project

Hey Daroma

The Hey Daroma was a passenger/cargo ship of 1,736 GRT built at Androssan Dockyard (Yard No. 393), Glasgow, Scotland, as the Lairds Loch for Burns & Laird Lines, Ltd., Glasgow. Launched 09 March 1944 and completed the following August, she was 275 feet in length, 41.2 feet in beam, and 12.1 feet in draught. Propulsion was provided by two 8-cylinder Atlas Polar M48M diesel engines (direct reversing) which provided a single shaft and propeller with 2,560 bhp for a speed of 13 knots. The ship’s engines were provided by British Auxiliaries Ltd., Glasgow.

The ship had accommodations to carry a few hundred passengers, with sleeping quarters available for First Class passengers. During the ship’s early years, she provided cross-channel service between Derry, Ireland and Glasgow, Scotland three times per week in each direction, departing from Glasgow at 7 P.M. each night enroute to Londonderry. The Lairds Loch worked on this service route from 1944 until the service route ended on 10 September 1966.

After a brief two-week overhaul back at Androssan Dockyard, the Lairds Loch relieved the Irish Coast on the overnight service on the Glasgow-to-Dublin route with reduced passenger rates for accommodation and berthing. The Irish Coast returned to the route on 06 June 1967 after which, the Lairds Loch was laid up at Androssan Dockyard until the end of 1967 when she was again placed in service on the Derry route carrying only general cargo and cattle until near the end of 1968.

In January of 1969, the ship was sold to the Israeli company of Sefinot Ltd., complete with all of the ship’s original furnishings, fittings, and tableware. She departed Androssan Dockyard 07 January 1969 and sailed for Eilat via the Cape Town route. Renamed Hey Daroma, the ship commenced service between Eilat, Israel, and Sharm EL-Sheikh three times per week, a trip which took approximately 8-hours at that time.

On a night during the third week of November 1969, while moored in the port of Eilat, the Hey Daroma suffered minor damage to her hull after limpet mines attached to her hull exploded. A second ship, the Zim Line freighter Dahlia, was also attacked. It was suspected that the limpet mines were put in place by Egyptian Special Forces units, but this remains unsubstantiated. Neither ship was seriously damaged and the Hey Daroma resumed her normal service route shortly afterwards.

The Loss of the Hey Daroma:
On the evening of 03 September 1970, the ship departed Eilat under the command of her owner/master, 45-year old Captain Ike Aharonowich, with a cargo of water. Approximately an hour later the ship struck the inshore reef near Nabq, located a few miles north of Sharm EL-Sheikh. The crew were safely rescued from the stranded ship and attempts to refloat the ship over the next few days were unsuccessful. The Hey Daroma was eventually written off as a total constructive loss and remained on the reef until finally sinking at position 28.05N/34.27E in 24 meters of water.

Diving Information

Unfortunately, while the ship sank in only 24 meters of water, there isn’t too much to see. This is because the ship currently sits beneath a much larger shipwreck known as the Million Hope. What can be seen of the Hey Daroma is pretty much indistinguishable from the other ship with the exception of the the area beneath the stern of the Million Hope. These two ship combined can make for an interesting dive none-the-less, with plenty of sea life and ship pieces and parts to sea.

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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