Rosalie Moller

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The Francis / Rosalie Moller at The Red Sea Wreck Project

The Francis

The Rosalie Moller was a 3,963 GRT Cargo Ship originally built as the Francis at Barclay Curle & Co., Glasgow, Scotland (Yard No. 479) for Booth S.S.Co Ltd, Liverpool, England. The ship was launched on 12 December 1909 and completed in January of the following year with a length of 108.2 meters, beam of 15 meters, 7.6 meters in draught, with a triple-expansion steam engine and a single shaft which gave the ship a top speed of 11 knots.

With her large cargo holds, the ship was best suited for the carrying of coal. The Booth Steamship Company used her for the delivery of coal thoughout Britain and along the coasts of Europe from the time of her delivery in 1910, through the First World War, and for the years following that war until the ship was sold in March 1931 to the Moller Line Ltd.

Under the owner of the Moller Line, the Rosalie Moller was used on the China route where she was based in Shanghai, delivering shipments of coal along the coastal routes.

When war with Germany was inevitable, the ship was returned to England when she was requisitioned for war use by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). She continued to operate as a collier, delivering shipments of coal in British waters and occasionally as far south as Gibraltar.

The Rosalie Moller at The Red Sea Wreck Project

Due to the ship’s age, including normal wear and tear on her engines, she was given an overhaul in July of 1941.As the scale of the war increased in the Mediterranean there was an expected increase in the need for “Best Welsh” coal in order to keep the Allied ships operating. In August 1941 the Rosalie Moller was assigned to deliver a cargo of coal to Alexandria via that long voyage around the tip of Africa. Steaming independently under the command of Captain James Byrne, the ship made her way south and arrived in Durban, South Africa in early September. Departing Durban on the 11th of September she headed north along the east coast of Africa, stopping at Aden en route to Suez.

The ship arrived at the lower end of the Gulf of Suez on 06 October and was directed to moor at Safe Anchorage “H” to await her turn to head north to transit the Suez Canal.The “Safe” Anchorages, up until this date, had been considered safe because enemy aircraft had not been able to venture this far south from airbases located in the northern Mediterranean. However, the Germans had just mastered the art of night flying and on 06 October a squadron on Heinkel 111 bombers from No. 2 Squadron 26th Kamp Geswader based out of Crete discovered these “Safe Anchorages” and conducted a bombing run which sank the Thistlegorm which was anchored at Safe Anchorage “F”.

The Rosalie Moller remained at Safe Anchorage “H” for two more days when, shortly after midnight, the Heinkels returned for another attack.

From Captain Byrne’s Report:
“Two bombs released, one striking No 3 Hold at 0045 hrs. Vessel sank 0140 hrs 8 October 1941, two Crew missing.”
The Rosalie Moller at The Red Sea Wreck Project

The final entry from the ships log

As the ship was sinking, the captain and crew took to the ship’s lifeboats and were able to abandon the ship with 2 lives lost. The ship then settled to the bottom at postition 27.39.03N/33.46.17E located to the west of Gobal Sheghir in 18-40 meters of water.

Diving Information

The Rosalie Moller sits on the seabed on an even keel with her bow sitting at around 40-meters and her stern, huge rudder and propeller sitting slightly deeper at 45 meters. Her masts are at 17-18 meters leading down to her decks sit at 35 meters. Much of the deck equipment is still in place, as are handrails and ladders. The ship’s funnel is broken and lying over on one side, complete with the Moller Line emblem on it. The bridge is easily penetrated although the helm and equipment have long since been removed.
The Rosalie Moller at The Red Sea Wreck Project
The ship is completely covered with hard and soft corals with an abundance of aquatic life. Glassfish, barracuda, Lionfish, Grouper,and the occasional reef shark.
Amazing views of the bow and stern. Handrails and equipment are still in place. The dive can be done as a short non-technical dive, but the best way to see this wreck is to make it an all-out technical dive.
References:
Miramar Single Ship Report for 1128015

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Lee has been in the marketing industry for the last 15 years and now specializes in teaching marketing techniques to people in the scuba diving industry. He is founder of Dive Media Solutions which, in addition to providing complete marketing, media, communications and IT solutions exclusively for the scuba diving industry, also produces The Scuba News. You can connect with Lee via Twitter by following @DiveMedia

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