POSITION 5746.544N 00345.569W (GPS) DEPTH LW 26m HW 29m
LEVEL LARGE WRECK DIVE suited to Sports/Advanced Open Water Diver or specialist
NOTE This dive entails a longer than normal boat trip so careful consideration should be given to weather, fuel and emergency contingencies. However the wreck can be dived at any state of the tide without worrying about currents. The main consideration would be for launch and recovery of your boat. See the section on local facilities for suitable sites. A buoy or two usually marks the site and it is fairly safe to moor your boats directly to these lines as they have been put there for this purpose by one of the local clubs
Built by the Standard Shipbuilding Corporation, Shooters Island New York built for The Eagle Oil and Shipping Co Ltd the San Tiburcio was completed in March 1921 with a gross tonnage of 5995 and measured 413 ft in length. The San Tiburcio was sunk on 4th May 1940 without loss of life after hitting what was believed to be an air dropped mine. She was on route to the Cromarty Firth with a cargo of 2193 Tons of fuel oil and 12 Sunderland seaplane floats for the base at RAF Alness. The crew of 40 was saved including the ships cat. The ship split in two on sinking and the sketch above shows the bow section, which is at time of writing fairly intact and makes a safe exciting and fairly easy dive.
The fact that there is so much to find always makes this an exciting wreck dive, with shipping company crockery and cutlery turning up all the time. Most of the brass has been liberated however its not unknown for divers to literally just pick up portholes and lamps as the silt which fill many of the nooks and crannies is washed away after a winter of storms and the slow collapse of the superstructure. Fish life is plentiful with an abundance of large conger inhabiting the deck oil pipes. There are some nets on the wreck but these are very noticable and easily avoided.
The stern section lies some 20 metres away and can usually be seen as a black shadow when looking from the broken aft of the bow section. It is not as recognisable as the bow section but has many interesting holes and piles of scrap. There is a gun here which was once on the mounting still visible at the very back, however the Royal Navy, probably it a failed attempt to salvage it blew it of its mounting and it now lies jammed in a hole in the port side of the stern. Log book entry 8 Sept 96, dive 698 "Took Peter and Paul from Hertfordshire to the San T. Jonah and I explored the sea bed around the impressive bow and then went for a rumage around the cabins. Good visibility again and lots of life."
The SS San Tiburcio
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