Wreckage of Ottoman ship being salvaged off Qunfudah
By Walaa Hawari - Arab News
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities has started work to haul out a sunken ship dating back to World War I at Qunfudah port on the Red Sea coast.
SCTA Vice President Ali Al-Ghabban visited the port to supervise the operation and ensure that necessary measures are taken to recover all parts of the ship.
According to an official at the SCTA, the ship will be divided into parts and showcased on land owned by the commission’s branch in Qunfudah.
The decision to fish out the sunken ship, the first operation of its kind in the Kingdom, was taken after it was found obstructing planned work on Qunfudah docks initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture.
The ship was sunk in an air raid by Italian warplanes during World War I, which resulted in the destruction of a number of Ottoman ships in the area.
The company in charge of salvaging the wreckage is using specially trained SCTA divers.
According to a source, the ship is 56 meters long and will be recovered in parts and stored in a suitable location. Visitors will be able to visit the ship and its contents and listen to the story behind it.
The company in charge of the Qunfudah dock project has built a sand dock parallel to where the ship is located for the use of a special crane to recover the wreckage.
The whole project is supervised by a joint committee comprising representatives of the SCTA, the Border Guards and Ministry of Agriculture, with team members registering and documenting all recovered parts.
The team will also fish out a 28-meter long boat found underneath the ship, and this will also be showcased.
There are other sunken ships near Qunfudah port away from the project location and SCTA is working on a project to construct an underwater museum with a glass tunnel enabling visitors to view the wreckage.