Built and launched as Fred Scamaroni in France 1966. Sold to El Salaam tour line and renamed Salem Express. The captain of Salem Express was well known for his skills and experience. He was also one of the few who confidently navigated the “shortcut” passing the Hyndman Reef into Safaga harbour saving almost an hour of travelling time. This stormy December night he was thinking of the passengers well being as the rough weather had made many of them seasick. On December 15th 1991 she hit the Hyndman reef ripping a massive hole in the hull. Officially 960 returning pilgrims were onboard but claims have been made that up to 1.600 people was actually onboard, 180 survived. This was by far the worst disaster in Egyptian maritime history.

The dive
Resting on her starboard side in 30 metres of water Salem Express is an eerie dive. Begin at the deepest point; the stern where you find the two intact large screws and the rudders. Swimming along the bottom you pass life boats still at the davits. Next the huge funnels with the emblem “S”. Coming up towards the bow you find the bow door slightly open and the damage from the collision with the reef is overwhelming.

Many dive guides refuse to dive Salem Express all together. This is a maritime grave and should be treated as such. Remember that most likely, on the dive boat that took you to the site, every single member of crew has a family member inside the wreck. Dive her with respect!