A recently built 42m liveaboard, the Carlton Queen, has capsized and sunk near Sha’ab Abu Nuhas in the northern Egyptian Red Sea. All guests and crew are reported to have been rescued with no more than minor injuries but having lost possessions in the incident, which occurred on 24 April.
A nearby liveaboard, the VIP Shrouq, was involved in the rescue operation along with the Egyptian Navy. Egypt’s Chamber of Diving & Water Sports later thanked the VIP Shrouq’s crew for their “quick and professional rescue and assistance to the tourists and the crew-members onboard the capsized boat”.
Also read: ‘Our dive liveaboard capsized: Now what?’
Built last year to carry up to 28 guests on both scuba diving and kite-surfing charters, the Carlton Queen was operated out of Hurghada by Carlton Fleet Red Sea, which also runs another liveaboard, the Carlton. But on 27 April the company announced that “the worst that can happen to a boat and liveaboard operator happened two days ago”.
It said that “no one suffered serious injuries”, all guests and crew having received medical checks after arriving back on land. Many of the divers are thought to have been British.
They had been accommodated in an all-inclusive hotel, according to the operator, which said that it had been helping to arrange for replacement passports to be issued so that they could travel home.
Carlton Fleet stated that further details of the incident would be released following a police and Coast Guard investigation. It also said that it was trying to secure a replacement liveaboard so that it could fulfil upcoming bookings, the next trip being scheduled for 9 May.
Guests on Carlton Queen had been wreck diving at Abu Nuhas since the boat’s departure the previous day. According to unconfirmed reports it had been listing since the start of the trip and had foundered while manoeuvring in mounting seas, remaining at the surface for a time on its starboard side.
Guests in the cabins below-decks had to be helped to safety, getting clear of the stricken vessel via a life-raft or by taking to the water – in most cases having to abandon personal belongings and dive-gear.
Also on Divernet: How To Live On Liveaboards, How Well-Covered Is Your Liveaboard Trip?
If it was noticeably listing near the start of the voyage why was it allowed to continue! Did a bilge alarm sound if not why not and if so why was it ignored? If there was a bilge alarm and no water ingress the listing suggests bad loading or a poor vessel design with low roll stability. The most important thing is everyone was saved.