Zenobia, the best wreck of Cyprus

by spotmydive

Geographic location

  • Country: Cyprus
  • Region: Larnaka


  • Length: 171m
  • Width: 7m
  • Height: 22m
  • Nationality: suédois
  • Construction date: 1979
  • Sinking year: 1980
  • Number of deaths: 0
  • Cause of sinking: Probleme mecanique
  • Ship Type: Paquebot
  • Propulsion: Moteur a essence
  • Tonnage: 8919

Marine life

  • Barracuda
  • Grouper
  • Moray eel
  • Sargo

Diving conditions

  • Max Depth: 42m
  • Current: Very strong
  • Visibility: Excellent

When to go diving

From April to October

Considered in many rankings as one of the 10 beautiful wrecks in the world, The Zenobia intrigued and fascinated divers because of its size, its depth but also for its tragic history. The boat is affectionately known as “Zen”.

History and the Zenobia wreck

Built in 1978 by Kockums in Malmo Varv sites for the company Rederi Ab Nordo, the Zenobia is a RoRo vessel used to transport vehicules to 171 meters long. This boat, with a pretty innovative design hull shape, stability management …, was launched on 11 August 1979, for a first crossing between Volos and Tartous. In 1980, the ship, while crossing the strait of Kythera Crete during bad weather, suffered 2 waves blades, one after the other, that pushed the tilt of the vessel to 40°, which damaged the vehicles that the vessel was transporting. Following the mishap, the captain and his second, unhappy with the autopilot system and other devices, decided to resign and were replaced quickly by two novices.

On 30 May 1980, the Zenobia leaves town Koper Tartous with 135 vehicles and 121 passengers. One night, a trivial action on the rudder causes a dramatic lurch that layed the boat on its flank. A tug vessel try to bring the Zenobia to the port of Larnaca but a series of bad decisions or not led, at 1H 55, to the disappearance of the Zen under the surface of the sea. Fortunately, there was no victims.

Diving on the wreck

Lying on its side at 42 meters deep, the ship is accessible from the port of Larnaca, around 1 mile from the coast. The wreck has quickly become an attraction for wreck divers. For those wanting to dive on the top of the vessel, a scuba diving level 2 or a PADI advanced open water diver is highly recommended or even necessary. Only CMAS level 3 or technical scuba divers will get the chance to discover the lower part of the imposing carcass and the entrails of the ship, including the garage and the engine room that are probably the most impressive parts. Outside of the wreck, one can also observe some battered trucks tied to the chains of the bridge.

Fish encountered on the dive spot

Around the wreck, you may encounter good-sized groupers, moray eels, conger eels and shoals of barracuda.