The goal of this project is to document the wreck of a Liberty Ship – SS Kalliopi (former name: Robert Dale Owen).
Location: Vela Vrata Channel, Adriatic Sea, Croatia
Project Managers 2022: JP Bresser and Maurizio Grbac
Liberty Ship is the name given to the EC2 type ships designed by the United States Maritime Commission during World War II as a part of the Emergency Shipbuilding Program. Between 1941 and 1945 eighteen American shipyards built 2,710 of these standardized, mass produced design ships.
Simplified construction gave big advantage of a very short assembly time. However, many Liberty Ships had structural defects and many weak points. It often resulted in unexpected hull cracks.
Check out more in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qDxqBvK3NA
Robert Dale Owen (SS Kalliopi)
- Class: Liberty EC2-S-C1 class
- Propulsion: steam
- Date built: 1943
- Tonnage: 7176 GRT
- Dimensions: 134.4 x 17.4 x 11.3 m
- Material: steel
- Engine: 1 triple expansion engine, single shaft, 1 screw
- Armament: Non
- Power: 339 nominal horsepower
- Max Speed: 11 knots
After the Second World War Greek maritime companies bought many cargo vessels from the American war surpluses. Robert Dale Owen was one of such ships. In 1946 Panagos D. Pateras Company bought this retired Liberty Ship and gave her a new name from the Greek mythology – Kalliopi.
After more than a year of her new duty, SS Kalliopi went on her last voyage from Charleston, South Carolina (USA) to Rijeka (Croatia). At that time the route through the Vela Vrata Channel (Croatia) was still not fully demined after the war…
In the early morning 20th of December 1947 the crew of SS Kalliopi heard and felt an explosion somewhere i the middle of the ships’ hull. It was a mine that tore the hull and caused sinking. Thanks to the rapid evacuation almost all the crew members survived. According to the records, one person that at the moment of explosion was in the engine room lost his life tragically.
DIVING ON SS KALLIOPI
Photogrammetry model built out of footage collected during the project dives 2022.
Wreck of SS Kalliopi is broken in three parts. Middle part with the superstructure, chimney and engine room lays on the port side at minimum depth of 42m and maximum depth of 62m. The bow lays upside down approximitely 20m away from the middle part . The stern part is further away and is not often dived.
The following pictures were captured during the project dives in June 2022. We were focused on documenting the main bridge (wheelhouse) and the rooms behind the bridge. We were able ot identify some details from the chart room, captain’s office and captain’s cabin.
Many thanks to the divers who made it possible to take these photos: Adam Jaworski, Alana Dempsey, Bartek Trzcinski.
GUE Kalliopi Project Team 2022:
- A-M Bresser
- Adam Jaworski
- Alana Dempsey
- Bartek Trzcinski
- John Zwoferink
- Joost van Mil
- JP Bresser
- Mario Arena
- Maurizio Grbac
- Piotr Berlinski
- Richard Hakse
- Sven Nelles
- Tom Nicolaes