Empire Tana (Lee's Wreck)

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Information on the Empire Tana (Lee's Wreck)

Vessel Type: Liberty Ship                                      Date of Loss: 1947/48
Location: County Down                                           Place: Ballyhenry Bay, Strangford Lough
Cause of Loss: Ran Aground                                  Boat Dive From: Portaferry
Charted Depth: Breaks Surface                           Irish O.S. Map: Discovery Series No. 21
Height of Wreck: 15m                                            Admirality Chart No: 2156
Hull Material: Steel

Type Of Sea Bed: Rocks and Shale                        Average Visability: 10 - 15m
Latitude(GPS): 54 23.36 North                           Longitude(GPS): 05 34.35 West
Diving Experience: Novice

Diving Information:

  • Sitting in an upright position and exposed at all stages of the tide.
  • Ironwork is deteriorating, and liable to collapse - be warned.
  • Proliferation of "Dead man's fingers" and sponges at stern of wreck.
  • Resembles a garden, full of colour. Always fish around.
  • Slack Water is best, high or low tide.
  • Boat can be launched from either Strangford or Portaferry.
  • Boat can be tied to wreck.
  • Warning!! A notice has been issued warning of the wreck’s rapid deterioration and care is needed when diving the site.

Historical Information:

  • Formally called the "Carso", and built in 1923 originally as an Italian ship, she was captured by the Allies in 1943.
  • Built by Stabilmento of Trieste, she grossed 6,148 tons and measured 406 x 54 x 33ft.
  • She was used in the D-Day landings as part of the Gooseberry Breakwater on "Sword" beach (British).
  • After the war she was purchased by the breakers yard ‘John Lee’ operating from Ballyhenry Bay.
  • The idea was to beach her at high tide, but the current caught her and she struck a rock and sank, later to break in two. The forward section was later cut away and scrapped.
  • A depth charge was found aboard in 1996 and disposed of by the Royal Navy.