The Zenobia wreck in Cyprus has a lot of stories written about her journey from Sweden to Cyprus, stories about what caused her to sink and details of the varied cargo onboard. Stories are everywhere on the internet about what happened on her maiden voyage and there are numerous conspiracy theories about what caused the Zenobia to sink. We all know how divers stories can get exaggerated and even more astonishing with every beer.
What is certain is that she was on her maiden voyage from Sweden to Syria, she had major listing problems to the port side, she had masses of cargo on board and that on her way to Syria she did eventually sink just over 1km off the Cyprus coastline.
The major inaccurate story you read a lot is the one about the cargo of horses on board that all drowned. Yes there is a lorry on board that is half in and half out of the upper lorry deck full of bones but this was a frozen meat lorry from Copenhagen. The meat all obviously defrosted and was eaten by all the critters that live on the wreck and it left a mass of bones scattered on the lorry. These led to the story that we hear today that they are dead horse bones, horses that were drowned during the sinking. You can see a mass of bones today stacked in the under sections of the lorry and the freezer unit still above the drivers cab. We call this the 'bone lorry' and it certainly was not a few horses left on board !
The conspiracy theories are numerous and get better with every year that goes by since the ship sank. One of the main ones you hear a lot of is that it was an insurance job to get some money to insure the sister ship that wasn't insured and make some extra cash at the same time. If it is true no one will ever know after all this time but we imagine it again is some guess work based on what people can only suggest may be a possible reason for the sinking.
The best by far is that the Zenobia was carrying a cargo of arms, or more likely some weapon making materials like rocket launchers, to Syria. These would then be transported to Lebanon and the Hezbollah group to rocket Israel as this was a major issue back in the day. The story is that the Israeli secret service Mossad sank the ship and then dived her to remove the evidence. Indeed diving inside the middle lorry deck there is a cargo of very long, empty wooden crates. When you consider that all the other lorries cargo's are pretty much intact inside the decks you can see how peoples imagination can get to work and stories start.
One thing is for sure, the captain commited suicide not long after the Zenobia sank. This in itself has led to a number of these theories becoming Zenobia folklore.
Unfortunately some divers have lost their lives on the wreck and all you hear from people is that 'a few people have died on there haven't they ?' The deaths are often shrouded in mystery or misinformation but all of them have been nothing more than the usual story - diver error ! Divers that go beyond their personal experience limits, comfort levels and training make up the vast majority of diving related accidents around the world. The Zenobia is a safe wreck but is also a dive site to be respected.
Either way these stories all add to the allure of this fantastic wreck. She has been on the seabed now for 37 years and still draws thousands of divers every year to explore the history of the Zenobia, it's excellent range of dives and it's many stories.