ex Majorca, ex Leopold De Wael
Length - 77 meters
Width - 10 meters
Beam - 4,5 meters
Tonnage - 1107 NRT
sunk due to a mine
Min depth - 39 meters
Max depth - 48 meters
At the very beginning of this story, I should say that from most of the divers SS Luana is wrongly named SS Giuseppe Dormio. Booth ships are a similar size and build. Sunken in almost the same period hitting an underwater mine and they sunk relatively close to each other. It was an easy mistake. Among local scuba divers, SS Luana is still named SS Giuseppe Dormio and will be probably forever. These errors are frequent and difficult to correct.
Luana was yard no 177 in S.P. Austin & Son shipyard in Sunderland. She was built in 1892 like Majorca for Leith, Hull & Hamburg shipping company. Mostly was transporting cargo from Hamburg to Leith.
77 meters long and 10 meters wide was a typical example of well deck build. Luana had three cargo holds. One on the bow and two on the stern part. Even today you can admire a beautiful auxiliary wheel on the stern of the ship. Luana was equipped with a 136 HP triple expansion steam engine. In 1924 Majorca was sold to Belgium and she changed her name in Leopold de Wael.
In 1933 finally were sold to an Italian shipowner Raffaele Romano from Naples and renamed SS Luana. In March 1947 she was transporting bauxite from Manfredonia to Venice. Five miles south of Cape Kamenjak Luana hit the mine and sunk rapidly. Unfortunately, 12 crew members were lost in the tragedy.
Today the wreck is on the bottom of the sea at 49 meters depth. Upright with bow oriented to the north. A bow part is largely damaged from a mine explosion. There is always a permanent line that links the surface bouy to the wreck. This is where we start our dive. A few minutes later we are at the main bridge, which is the shallowest part of the wreck, 39 meters. Maximum depth is 48.
Always excellent visibility, often more than 20 meters. Diving on this wreck you can frequently meet a large swell of fish witch are literally hiding the wreck. Main wooden deck is no more in places so we can easily see what has hidden in cargo holds. With careful planning, it is possible to penetrate the wreck. Besides that the most beautiful part is the auxiliary wheel on the stern. A few moments later we are on the way back toward the main bridge and slowly ascending to surface. On this wreck, you can easily find congers, lobsters and other inhabitants that are the real owner of this wreck.
Whenever we dived on this wreck we had excellent visibility. One thing to pay attention are sea currents that sometimes can be really strong.
Paul de Keijzer