Voted one of the world's top wreck dives, the Umbria was launched in Hamburg in 1911. Her name then was the Bahia Blanca. In 1935 she was bought by the Italian government, renamed Umbria and refitted for use as a troopship. For last voyage she was loaded with munitions and building materials. Italy was about to enter the war but no secret was made of her cargo. For her trip down the Suez canal two British pilots came on board. They took two days to pilot her, rather than the normal 3 hours. When the Umbria was able to continue South down the Red Sea, the British Royal Navy sloop Grimsby was close behind. Off the coast of Sudan, the British boarded the ship with the excuse of "contraband control", with the support of a New Zealand battle-cruiser. During this the Umbria's captain heard on the radio that Italy was imminently to declare war, and had the ship scuttled. All hands safely abandoned ship. Source: Diving Guide to the Red Sea Wrecks. More on the Umbria...
The Underwater Photographer: Digital and Traditional Techniques, by by Martin Edge, Paperback, 536 pages (2009)
Diving Guide to the Red Sea Wrecks by A Ghisotti, V Paolillo, Rinaldi, K Amsler; Swan Hill Press, 140 pages.
Photo copyright Tim Nicholson.