L-R: Peter Jackson, Mike Murphy, Derek Roberts, Geoff Patch (top) Rob Gill, Ian Hussey, & Mike Dalton on Hamriyah slip on Friday with SP312 after diving both Mullah 2 and the Dara.
Some interesting news this week. It seems that the Mullah 2 that we’ve been diving for a few weeks now could be the elusive Ajman Glory – much sought after but never found. The wreck has been known about for some time but its location defeated some concerted efforts to track it down. Brian King in particular put a lot of effort into finding it when he was here. Fast forward a few years and a chance encounter with some divers from Umm Al Quwain provided us with some co-ordinates of two wrecks we’d never heard of, one of which they called the Mullah 2 (probably not its real name). Having dived it a few times, we passed the co-ordinates on to Brian Lugg, once of this parish but now Diving Officer of DSDC in Dubai (how the mighty are fallen!)
Brian checked his records and noticed that the location was very close to a wreck identified by Chris Lobel 10 – 15 years ago. Chris called it the “MV Isobel” or the “Thinner wreck” because of barrels of what he described as paint thinner in the holds. He made a sketch which is attached below. Seeing the sketch it was clear to us that the Mullah 2 and the Thinner wreck are the same vessel. The difference in co-ordinates is probably because in those days the US military were still scrambling the GPS signal.
ABOVE:archive photo sourced by Marc De Ruyter, MV Ajman Glory (built 1957, formerly Dollard).
Brian then contacted the UK Hydrographic Office and their response was as follows:
The ‘thinner wreck’ is an interesting one. AJMAN GLORY was lost on 28.8.89 on passage Hamriyah for Bandar Abbas. She was initially reported as having sunk in 25 58N, 55 38E but this was later revised to being her last known position and as she was abandoned afloat she could have drifted a considerable distance. The wreck was inserted on charts as a Dangerous Wreck, Position Doubtful in response to US charting action. She was 52.7mtrs by 8.5mtrs, with a draught of 3.0mtrs. 497 gross tons and carried a cargo of vinyl acetate monomer – which I believe is a feedstock for the manufacture of PVA glue – but I imagine that you have some good chemists to hand! Later in 1989 it was reported that ‘>1000 drums of toxic and inflammable chemicals has broken free from the wreck and have washed up on the UAE coastline,’ however I have no information whether the cargo was in drums or in bulk. With the reported length of 50mtrs and beam 7mtrs it seems likely that your colleagues have finally located her.
I think that the scanned diagram notes ‘small motor vessel – 2 hulls’. This may be a double hull vessel but I have no details of her construction. Could I ask that you contact the divers again and see if they have any further data which could confirm the identification? If they can it would be of great value as we could remove the Dangerous Wreck symbol from the chart.
I won’t take any charting action yet in case you can uncover more details.
Thanks and regards,
UK Hydrographic Office
Naturally last Friday we went back to the wreck to take some measurements (and therein lies a story) and the vessel measured exactly 8.5m across the beam. The length was more difficult to measure accurately but it’s between 50m and 55m – clearly in the right ballpark for the Ajman Glory.
So have we found it? Maybe too soon to say absolutely but if we could find some photos of the AG when it was floating and it appeared the same as the Mullah 2 then that must be fairly certain I’d have thought. Anyone out there have any pictures?
Going back to that story – if you were laying a line from one end of a wreck to the other would you tie off at the stern and make your way to the bow? Or would you tie off and head off on a theoretical compass bearing hoping to find the bow? Needless to say our new Chairman selected the latter option and soon found himself in mid-water, nowhere near the wreck with a couple of bewildered buddies behind him. Never mind we got the measurement eventually, as PJ's video below shows.
Footnote: Marc has found the following link www.marhisdata.nl/printschip.php?id=1755 for a very full technical record of the 'Ajman Glory' in the Dutch Maritime Historical Databank. This includes a heading 'ship history data' confirming the cargo of vinylacetate monomer carried at the time of sinking.
PJ concludes: After all this detective work and some well-measured diving, not to forget our second dive: De-gassing after the Mullah/Ajman Glory, with the first wave down on the Dara, those of us doing boat cover were treated first to a large barnacle encrusted turtle catching breath on the surface, followed by a 2012 Olympic high-jumping Eagle-ray., which between them made up for fairly limited fish life seen below the waves
The Dara as ever an interesting dive, but the wreck continues to disintegrate. While offering a good number of dramatic swim throughs, it is obvious that there has been significant deterioration of the hull over the past year. Derek's dramatic photo below captures a view into the "Cathedral" from the deck below.
And while mentioning corrosion, on the equipment side, we have just had to junk a cylinder because it was too badly corroded around the base. If using Club (or your own) steels, please make sure that you rinse inside the boot after your dives.
Ian Hussey and guest writers.