Accidental Reefs

Some artificial reefs are not planned. These are made from objects that don’t belong in the ocean at all. Planes that crash or ships that sink sometimes become reefs by accident.

There’s a place in the Red Sea called Sha’ab Abu Nuhas. It is a coral reef off the coast of Egypt. Passing near it by ship can be dangerous.


Red Sea

The wreck of the Giannis D lies on its side.

Four large shipwrecks are found here. These ships struck the reef. Then they sank and slid down a steep slope. They were partly buried in sand. The Giannis D was such a ship. It was a transport ship hauling timber. In 1983, it accidentally ran into the reef. The crew abandoned it. A storm broke it into pieces. Then it sank.

To dive there now, you’d see it covered in corals. Hawksbill turtles, glassfish, and eels drift by. The sea has claimed this ship for its own.

Creating a Home

The S.S. Thistlegorm is at the bottom of the Red Sea, too. This British cargo ship sank during World War II. At the time, the ship was filled with supplies for soldiers. It also held weapons of war. Bombs. Rifles. Motorbikes. All still lie at the bottom of the sea.

A scuba diver looks at part of the S.S. Thistlegorm.

A Future Hope?

How strange these items look now. Encrusted with corals. Alive with fish. Nothing can replace a natural coral reef. Yet, artificial reefs can make up for some of the loss. In time, marine communities can thrive in these reefs.

A hawksbill turtle feeds on corals attached to the wreck of the Giannis D.

This artificial reef is full of life.