The wreck of the ship Viminale can be rightly considered the “Italian Titanic” for its impressive size and the excellent state of preservation that characterizes it, and it’s one of trimix diving more challenging and evocative of Calabria.
Launched in May 1925 by Lloyd of Trieste, the “Viminale” was a luxury liner and its route reached even the ports in Japan, a rarity for its time! It was a source of pride for the Italian shipbuilding industry of the time, with its tonnage of 8,657 tons, its length of 142 m and its wideness of almost 18 m. Inside there were cabins of 1st, 2nd and 3rd class, wide halls, rooms for reading and study, as well as large holds for good.
The “Viminale” was often used for the transport of passengers and Italian emigrants bound for Australia, but later, at the beginning of the Second World War, it was requisitioned and used for the transport of troops and war material, with routes to Somalia, Eritrea, Albania and Greece.
July 25, 1943, at 2:15, as it was being driven from the port of Palermo to Naples to get some repairs, it was torpedoed off the coast of Palmi, in the Tyrrhenian sea, by the US PT 216. The explosion and sinking caused the death of four people, while 18 managed to escape.
After decades of forgetfulness, the shipwreck was re-discovered in 2000 on the seafloor off the port of Taureana of Palmi (RC). The wreck lies today in sailing trim, only slightly inclined to the left side, at a maximum depth of 105 m and it is only suitable for hypoxic trimix diving. The shallow part, that is the deck navigation bridge, is located between 86 and 90 m depth. The hull is covered with micro-organisms and incrustations, but it is still in excellent condition, with stained glass windows intact, the instruments on board, the long decks and the dishes still stacked in the holds…
Photo Andrea Murdock Alpini. Courtesy www.wreckdiving.it
|Dive type||Technical Dive|
|Minimum depth||106 m|
|Maximum depth||86 m|
|Bottom type||Sandy and muddy seabed|
|Difficulty||Very high degree of difficulty|
|Level required||Hypoxic Trimix certification|
|Interest||Historical and photographic interest.|
|Notes||Fairly good presence of shoals of fishes. Abundance of sessile encrusting organisms.|