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Diving the Cita
MV Cita

The Cita broke into three large sections when she slipped under the waves. The lies between 18m and 40m on a large rock protrusion. A word of warning, the current can be quite strong and often when leaving the lee side a strong current can pick up very quickly and push you toward land. 


The bow section is the shallowest and is just 11m from the surface, with the bottom of the bow lying around 18m. You can follow the bow around and find a large mid-section standing at a right angle just off her port side.  You will notice a large "forest" of sea weed next to her. The easist way to cross it, by swimming just over it when leaving the furthest right steel hull plate. 


You will come to next mid section and will be already at 25m, stay on the superstructure side of the wreck (usually the lee-side) and explore the engine room if you wish to some wreck penetration. It is quite roomy inside, but be careful not to loose your orientation as she lies on her side. The rudder is at 35m and lies quite exposed. 


A large piece of her superstructure, the bridge, lies upside down next to the wreck. At this point you are likely to be around 40m, making a wreck penetration unwise. The easiest way to make it back to the surface is to swim up to the bow or use the large stern as protector to fire off your SMB. Once you leave the wreck, the current will carry you off quite quickly. 

History

The Cita was built in 1976 and was originally called the "John Wulff". She was a small bulk carrier designed to carry a cargo of about 200 containers between the various European ports. In 1983, she was renamed the Lagerfoss and when she was sold to a group of German dentists in 1996 and renamed the Cita. 


On her last voyage, she left Southampton on the 25th March 1997 for Belfast carrying 145 containers with Marks & Spencer clothing, bales of tobacco, empty gas cylinders, shopping bags, car engines, batteries and tyres. She was manned by a crew of 9 polish sailors. The skipper went to sleep and left the First Mate in charge. The ship was set on auto-pilot and she sailed west. The First Mate fell asleep and considering that it was crossing one the busiest shipping lanes without collision is a surprise in its own right. 


She was equipped with an automatic anti-collission radar, but it was switched off (Editor: According to one interview, the comment was that the "buzzer" from the radar was annoying). She sailed at full speed on to the rocks at Porth Hellick. The impact was so strong that the crew fell out their bunks and she started listing 30°. No distress signal was received, except for a call to aid, the RNLI boat arrived shortly later, taking off her crew (the captain was rescued later with a helicopter). She listed further, now at 70° she was in danger of capsizing. 


The containers fell into the water and floated on to the beach, creating a free for all the local residents. Unfortunately, the local receiver of wreck had just retired, and the only local policeman could not control the situation. According to local newspapers, people arrived with the cars from Cornwall and were not stopped when they left with tyres stacked on their roof when leaving the ferry.


In 2005, when we visited the local shop, the shop owner was using up the last of the plastic bags from the Cita. The story continues, the local authority issued a bill of £300,000 to the owners of the Cita for the beach clean-up, which they refused to pay - saying that the stolen goods (as they were not declared to the receiver of wrecks) would need to be returned before the bill is paid. Unfortunately, we were never able to find out how much of that story is true.

Key numbers

Dive type: Wreck 

Length: 90m

Depth:  18m to 45m

Visibility: 5m to 15m

Location: 49°54.75N 06°16.51W

Difficulty: 4 Stars 

Dive: 4 Stars

 

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Cita

Posted on 4/22/2012 by SDA Editor

The Cita sunk in 1997 and carried 145 containers. She struck the Scilly Isles on 25 March 1997 and sunk on rocks lying about 35m deep.

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