PENETRATING THIS SECTION of the wreck is easy, thanks to the open ribbed framing. As you delve into the hull, there are no wide-open cargo spaces, as you might expect, only a forest of slowly decaying steel beams and columns adorned with coral.
At one time, this area would have been packed with munitions for the Imperial German Army. Now, with its complex steel structure silhouetted against the deep blue of the Aegean, it is eerily empty.
Broken crossbeams mark the shallowest point of the forward section at 36m.
The aft section, which lies at around 36m, is more of a mystery. In 1942, during the height of the Nazi occupation, Austrian marine biologist and pioneering underwater photographer Hans Hass was in Greece on a scientific expedition.
Using surface-supplied diving techniques and rebreathers (it would be another year before Jacques Cousteau co-invented the Aqualung) Hass actually filmed the Volos under water.
Miraculously, the footage can still be seen today, in the 1947 documentary Menschen Unter Haien (Men Among Sharks). It shows the wreck upright and fully intact in only 10-12m of water.
Seventy-five years later, the remaining aft section is only a small portion of what it should be. At roughly 10m long and with no conclusively identifiable features, it could be any part of the ship rear of the foredeck other than the distinctive poop and stern.
On approach, the first thing you notice is a lifeboat davit, laden with marine growth and drooping down towards the sand. However, this does not identify the aft section as being near the boat-deck.
Closer inspection reveals that the davit is resting on the outside of the port gunwale, meaning that it fell onto its present position.
Emanating from the gunwale are the cross-beams that used to support the deck, but these are now vertical and twisted. Many are broken and have become snags for unsuspecting fishermen.
Impossibly, the distance from gunwale to sand is only 3-4m. It is as though three-quarters of the ship’s 12.6m breadth is somehow buried deep in the sand – but this is just an illusion. Sadly, it is simply missing.
The post-WW2 ethos was to salvage old wrecks for scrap. Between 1945 and 1952, the Greek government demolished more than 350 wrecks for this reason.
Although ss Volos is not on any known official list, it was not excluded from this indignity. Its single propeller, the superstructure and most probably the highly prized engine and the boiler were all scavenged. Methods were often crude, with dynamite being employed, despite the environmental damage caused.
So the Volos, as it is today, is just a partial wreck, but what remains invites divers to explore some fascinating events in history – which also include one more irresistible twist to the tale.