tragic history

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The ‘Salem Express’ is a wreck with a tragic history. Built in 1966, not much is known of the history of the ship, other than disaster struck her close to midnight, on 15th December 1991.

The Salem was packed with passengers returning from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, bound for the port of Safaga, when on that fateful night she struck one of the banks of coral that just break the surface south of Hyndman Reef (near Sha’b Shear), off Safaga in the Egyptian Red Sea. It was a stormy night and rescue teams failed to help. The collision gouged out a hole in the forward part of the hull, causing the stern door to burst open.

The ferry very quickly began to take on water and in only a matter of minutes she had sunk. There are claims that the number of passengers actually aboard the Salem when she sank was much, much higher than the official count of 690, with only 180 survivors. There may have been as many as 1600 people who perished in the tragedy, but many different counts have been provided. However many unfortunates perished, it should be noted that this is a grave as well as a wreck and must be treated with the utmost respect.

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