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Jolanda at The Red Sea Wreck Project

Remains of the cargo

The Jolanda was a Cargo Ship of 1,153 GRT which was built at Juliana Constructora Gijonesa SA, Gijon, Spain (Yard No. 135). She was launched in August 1963 and completed in 1964. At the time of her completion, the ship was registered under the South African flag (company unknown).

The Jolanda was 74.8 meters in length, 10.8 meters in beam, with propulsion being provided by a single diesel engine and shaft.

Loss of the Jolanda:
At the time of her loss, the ship was registered in Cyprus and was possibly in the service of Sea Brothers Marine Shipping Co., Ltd. On 01 April 1980, the ship was en route from Piraeus to Aqaba in rough weather with a cargo of ceramics (bath tubs, toilets, sinks, etc.), aluminum, plastic sheeting, and containers of general cargo. Additionally, there was onboard, a BMW 320 automobile which is supposed to have belonged to the ship’s captain.

The ship ran hard aground on the tip a reef at the southern end of Ras Mohamed National Park at position 27.43.30N/34.15.00E. After being stuck on the reef for 4 days, the ship rolled over onto her port side and sank, her stern hanging over a ledge that leads into deeper water. Here the ship stayed for a number of years, continuing to roll over until she was nearly completely capsized. In 1985, the ship finally dropped off the ledge of the reef and slid into the deep, only leaving behind remnants of her cargo, the BMW, and various scraps of metal from the ship.

Some cool pictures of Leigh Cunningham, Mark Andrews, and Peter Collings diving on the wreck before it dropped into the deep can be found here.

Diving Information

The remnants of the ship’s cargo, car, steel, etc. lie in between 10 and 25 meters on the reef which has since become known as “Yolanda” reef (note the misspelling of the name) and is on the list of recreational dive sites in Sharm EL Sheikh. A typical dive there starts at a site known as Shark Reef to the east and, drifting along a reef wall in a westerly direction to a sandy saddle between Shark and Yolanda Reefs. Continuing along the southern face of Yolanda Reef you come to the west side of the reef and this is where the remains of the ship’s cargo are found. Lots of aquatic life to be seen throughout the entire dive.

The remains of the ship lie at around 160 meters below the ledge at Yolanda Reef and approximately 130 meters away from the reef itself. The wreck was found in December 2005 by deep divers Leigh Cunningham and Mark Andrews while training for a deep scuba dive record. Then, on 01 May 2007, Nina Preisner of Ocean Tec, dove on the wreck making it to the foc’sle and identifying various parts of the vessel. Consequently, she set a world record for depth on scuba by a woman as well!


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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