'ORE' Wreck

Lying in less than 20 meters, the Ore Wreck is somewhat overlooked by the Littlehampton charter boats who usually push for something a little deeper. Gaining more attention from local RIBs however, It's compact enough to be dived easily in one dive, and suitable for anybody of Ocean Diver level upwards. On several occasions Bexley RIBs have visted her and I recall my notes based on several dives to her.

To properly dive the Ore, slack has to be planned, particularly as the wreck has a low profile and gives little shelter to any current. Slack ideally should be planned around 1.5 hrs before HW. Averaging around 1-2m proud ? with the engine and single boiler sticking up to about 3m. So, although quite flattened the wreck gives an idea of the general layout of a 19th century merchant steamer, with all the big heavy bits such as engine, boiler and iron propeller all laid out in situ along with the piles of Iron Ore cargo that gave this unknown a name. Being around 7.5 nautical miles SSE from Littlehampton the Ore lies on a seabed made of broken shell, sand & gravel, and viz is average for the area, 2-5m early season viz, rising up to 8m on a good day. Usual sea life can be found with a good sized conger residing in the boiler area.

The wreck lies across the main currents, with the bow pointing SE. Because of its size and obvious target on the echo sounder the engine & boiler will usually be the target of the shotweight. The spare iron prop lies close by and astern of the of the engine, further aft, the partly buried main prop can be seen still attached to the propshaft. From this turning point, and moving along, the largely eroded port hull plates can be followed as a guide all the way along to the bow. En-route various fitments such as winches and couplings can be seen and also the original cargo of iron ore defining the now largely disappeared holds. Little remains of the bow section although the prow can be made out. From here the bimble back to the shotline is easily made for a total no-stop dive of around 20-25 minutes.

Depths: 16m-20m (LW / HW)

Profile: 1-3 metres proud

Position: (WGS84): 50 40.70N / 000 28.80W *(position is approximate)

Slack: approx 1.5hrs before HW / HW+5

Bexley BSAC

Some time back I used the internet for its worth and gained a good understanding of the wreck. This was mainly through the Wessex Archaeological unit who have comprehensively surveyed the site. Their results have led to a identification of the wreck as that of the 'Concha', a ship that sunk due to collision in 1897. Nine sailors were lost. In addition the unit gives a good understanding of their work along with this site and several others along the south coast, for further info see link below.

Click here
R.Nokes - May 2010

*Wreck exact position is available on request. If you are a member of another club and would like to exchange GPS codes, we would like to hear from you.