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Name: The Carnatic

Launched: 1872

Wrecked: 13 September 1869 (0100) due to navigational error. It finally disappeared from sights in March 1870.

Owners: Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (now known better as P&O)

Length: 90m. Displacement: 1,776 metric tonnes.

Route: from England, via Suez to Bombay and Calcutta.

Cargo: various, including gold, wine, beer, “London soda water” mail and some passengers

After only a few hours of leaving Suez this P&O mail steamship struck the northern edge of the reef at Abu Nuhas. Tragically, due to the excellent weather conditions, the 230 passengers and crew decided to stay on board. After 24 hours the disaster happened and the ship suddenly broke in half. 27 people lost their lives in the ensuing confusion after pulling the ship’s boats across the reef. The other passengers and crew started burning bales of cotton and firing a distress rocked to attract the attention of another P&O ship called The Sumatra. A considerable amount of salvage work was carried out and this was the first time air-pump and helmet diving techniques were used successfully. About 80% of the gold was recovered by the team led by Captain Henry D. Grant on behalf of the insurer, Lloyds of London. The Carnatic now rests at the bottom of the 18m drop-off with her bow pointing towards the east and lying on her port side. Most of the decking has rotted or been broken away and a lot of the hull areas can be entered through the remaining support struts. Some of the interesting features around the hull and skeleton of her structure included the propeller, the large boiler and parts of the tandem compound engines. The table corals (acropora) grew on the end of the davit, the protruding spar, the square portholes, the passenger accommodation areas and, even now, on a number of bottles among the debris inside the blackened as well as the forward hold.


Price start from: 90,- Euro p.P.

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