Wrecks of Lebanon

By Antoine Boustany

I started scuba diving as a hobby in 2005 and soon it turned to a way of life, but I always had a special attraction toward shipwrecks. Lately, I had the opportunity to dive and document with my fellow diver, Elie Saliba (professional underwater photographer), all the main wrecks of Lebanon covering the 225km coastal line.

Diving into History 

We covered a variety of wrecks with different types and depth:

  • VTB8 French Torpedoes carries WWII -60 MSW
  • Souffleur French Submarine WWII -40 MSW
  • Twin Wrecks Cargo -40 MSW
  • Alice B Cargo -40 MSW
  • National Star Cargo -50 MSW
  • Russian Cargo -55 MSW
  • Lesbian Cargo -60 MSW
  • Cement Cargo -40 MSW

Each Wreck has its own charm and story, a never-ending tale that leaves us with many questions and few answers.

The VTB8 

World War II shipwreck deep within the waters of the Mediterranean north of Tripoli, Lebanon.

Twelve fully intact torpedoes lie atop the deck.

Le Souffleur 

The French submarine Souffleur was a Requin-class submarine built for the French Navy in the mid-1920s. Laid down in October 1922, it was launched two years later and commissioned in August 1926. Souffleur was torpedoed and sunk on 25 June 1941 off Beirut, Lebanon.

Twin Wrecks 

No Clear Information available yet. The two cargo wrecks, one big and one small, lie near each other and were probably sunk on purpose. 

Alice B 

In 1980, in the midst of the civil war, the Alice B went down in the bay of Jounieh, North of Beirut at 37 meters. The story says that Alice B was used to smuggle guns during the Civil War.

National Star 

Whilst departing Sidon in November 1992, the ship faced heavy weather and sank in shallow water. It was raised and temporarily repaired. It sailed again for Alexandria but took water, listed, and sank 1 mile off Sidon, south of Beirut, the same day.

Russian 

No clear information available

SS Lesbian 

Located near the capital city, Beirut Lesbian was a 2,352 GRT cargo ship which was built by Swan, Hunter, and Wigham Richardson Ltd, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1923 for Ellerman Lines Ltd. She was seized in 1940 by the Vichy French forces.

Cement Wreck 

The Cement Freighter Wreck, also known as Captain Michel Boat, a Greek sailor sunk near the coast a Batroun, North of Lebanon. The story says that Captain Michel was addicted to alcohol and woman. On a night of June 1939, they were transporting tons of cement and were overweight; they were completely drunk…the sea got tough they forgot to close the porthole and sunk at a depth of 40 MSW. Two sailors drowned this night. The captain escaped death and swam 7 hours to the shore, and no one knows anything about him.

What’s Next? 

Our target is to dive and document the HMS Victoria once it is open again for technical divers. 

The world’s only vertical wreck – HMS Victoria. 

HMS Victoria was the lead ship in her class of two battleships of the Royal Navy. On 22 June 1893, she collided with HMS Camperdown near Tripoli, Lebanon, and quickly sank, killing 358 crew members, including the commander of the British Mediterranean Fleet, Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon. The prop of HMS Victoria starts at 73 MSW and drops to 150 MSW. One third of the wreck stands vertical.

We advise all divers to visit and experience these amazing wrecks depending on their level of certification, training, and skills, from advanced divers to trimix divers, we got you covered.

Enjoy diving and always safety first.

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