Red Sea - The Cedar Pride

The Cedar Pride

By Ned Middleton

Note: Ned Middleton is a professional Underwater Photo-Journalist who has published a number of articles in recent years about Red Sea Wrecks. Please send corrections to Ned Middleton here.

Day Boat

Safari Boat

Shore Dive


Diving Grade







28 25' 44" N, 34 58' 22"E. Prominent marker buoy over wreck


Local Boat out of Aqaba or Shore Dive

Minimum Depth to Wreck

10m (Starboard side)

Maximum Depth to Seabed:

28m (Port side)

Average Visibility:


The Ship

This Lebanese registered general cargo was built by S. A Juliana Construcciones Gijonesa of Gijon and launched as the San Bruno in 1964. Her dimensions were 75.5m x 10.75m with a draught of 5.8m. She displaced 1,161 gross registered tonnes with two cargo holds and a central bridge castle.

The ship was renamed Cedar Pride in early 1982 when she was purchased by the Cedar Pride Shipping Co Ltd

The Loss of the Cedar Pride

The Cedar Pride was in ballast at the port of Aqaba when, on August 2nd 1982 a fire broke out and she sustained extensive damage to her engine room and accommodation. Two members of crew were killed. The vessel was declared a constructive total loss and abandoned by all those with a previous interest in the vessel. As a burned out hulk she then remained in the port for over three years before her eventual fate was decided.

On November 25th 1985, the Cedar Pride was towed to a position just off Aqaba Beach and deliberately sunk as a Scuba Diving attraction and Artificial Reef.

Diving the Cedar Pride

The Cedar pride came to rest almost perfectly on her starboard side at a depth of 28m to the seabed and, in the years since her sinking, has become a true extension to the local reef systems being colonised by all manner of truly outstandingly beautiful soft corals. Furthermore, she came to rest less than 150m from the shore and, being buoyed, is easily one of the best shore dives to be found anywhere.

With the uppermost starboard side being only 10m deep, there is a dive here for every grade of diver - shallow aspects for the novice, deeper elements for the more advanced and penetration diving for those with the appropriate skills and experience. Having said that, the more interesting parts of such internal investigation would include the Engine Room and it must be remembered that this was the seat of the fire which destroyed the vessel and consequently much of the structure was weakened. Be warned!

Generally speaking, the Cedar Pride is largely intact. The Bows are complete with twin windlass and fully retracted anchors. There are ladders on both the port and starboard sides down to the main deck. Immediately alongside the port ladder is an entrance into the focsle but it is a tight squeeze and the experience has little to recommend it.

No 1 Hold is both open and empty. As with all such open holds that are well lit they can serve a useful purpose by allowing the more junior diver a first opportunity to enter a wreck - with no chance of becoming lost because the exit is always so well lit. It is, however, only a large empty space - although the occasional Turtle has been encountered in side.

Immediately behind No 1 Hold are the deck winches that still stand immediately below a curious configuration of three masts - more like a single mast and an "A" frame, which still defy gravity as the stretch away from the ship parallel to the seabed.

Right behind the masts is the central bridge and accommodation castle. The bridge is easily entered and the diver soon discovers it was stripped bare of all essential equipment long before anyone thought of sinking the ship. Below the bridge and resting on the seabed, are the remains of one of the ships lifeboats which was still hanging from its davits when the ship went down.

From here, the rear deck is a wide open space dominated by an equally wide open cargo hold which provides an almost identical experience to that encountered earlier. The stern castle is raised and still support a profusion of winches and bollards that one expects to find on every ship. These are all very neatly surrounded by handrails. Just below deck level - right at the stern, the Diver is able to enter the passage way that surrounds the rear accommodation within the stern castle. Part of the ships name is still discernible across the stern of the vessel - although less and less so each year.

Finally the large 3-bladed propeller and rudder are still in place and, at approximately 22m, are also brought to life by large numbers of brightly coloured soft corals.

A few metres from the stern of the Cedar Pride lies a small Harbour Launch at a depth of 30m. The circumstances of her sinking are unknown and it is difficult to speculate about how she may have become lost - she could not have struck the wreck it is too deep. Nevertheless, this launch can make an interesting diversion from the Cedar Pride - although, being very slightly deeper, should be tackled at the beginning of any dive.


At 1,161 tonnes, the Cedar Pride is not a large ship but she is the only shipwreck in the Jordanian sector of the Gulf of Aqaba and the additional colour provided by the extensive growths of soft corals make this an exciting dive and a worthwhile change from the nearby - and quite excellent, reefs.

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Last Updated: May 29th, 2011