The wreck of the Zenobia lies in 43m of water some 1.5km off Larnaka. The story of its sinking remains something of a mystery. A brand new roll-on/roll-off ferry, launched in Sweden in 1979, the Zenobia embarked on its maiden voyage to Syria in 1980, sailing from Malmö and through the Straits of Gibraltar. As it approached Greece, steering problems started to develop, and the ship began listing to port. It became clear that a computer malfunction was causing excess water to be pumped into the ballast tanks. The problem apparently solved, the ship continued to Cyprus. While in Larnaka harbour, however, the listing recurred and got worse. Eventually the captain was ordered to take her out of the harbour, in case she sank and became a hazard to other ships. Anchored offshore, the situation got worse, so much so that the captain ordered the crew to abandon ship. In the early hours of 7 June, 1980 she turned turtle and sank. Compared to the usual shipwreck, the whole drama was played out relatively slowly, and as a result there was no loss of life (though several divers have been drowned in the wreck since). Apart from the catastrophic failure of a state-of-the-art ferry, the mystery is that despite her intrinsic value and the €200 million cargo she carried (including over 100 lorries), no investigation was ever carried out, and the owners never tried to collect the insurance. It’s an ill wind, though – the wreck of the Zenobia is now considered to be one of the best dive sites in the world.

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