|ID||2106893 (not IMO)|
|Material of build||wood|
|Builder||E. Moore Sons & Co, Wilmington, Delaware, USA|
|Sink date||November 11, 1920 (Evening of November 10, 1920 according to Romanian sources)|
|Sink reason||foundered off Cape Tuzla, after hitting a mine|
|Coordinates||N43 57.403 E28 42.332|
Albemarle was built in 1891, at Moore Sons, from Wilmington, Delaware, for the Old Dominion Steamships Company, with the port of registration New York. During its first year, it was built as a passenger ship, with a cabin across the whole deck. In 1907 it came to be owned by Norfolk & Southern Railroad Co., then in 1920 it was sold to Gerasimos A. Lykiardopulo, and changed its name into Nicholas, and the flag to Greek (registered at Argostoli). Somewhere after 1907, the supra structure was rebuilt, having a small cabin at the stern, and 3 cargo holds in front.
During the night between November 10/11, 1920, the ship was sailing from Braila to Balcic, carrying grains. At 5nm off Cape Tuzla, the vessel hit a mine and sunk. The crew survived in a rescue boat and reached Constanta the next day.
The news of the sinking appeared in The Times, 16 November 1920, 'Casualty Reports': “Greek steamer Nicholas (ex Albemarle) sank about 5 miles off Cape Tuzla. Crew landed at Constantza.” More details were provided in the “Dobrogea Juna” local newspaper, no. 90 from Thursday, November 16.
Nicholas was discovered by Mircea Popa (Respiro) in 2011, and it was visited a few times by various divers, but it remained unidentified until 2017. Last year, when I was researching the wreck of Sophie, I came across a brief mention regarding the sinking of Nicholas. I have abandoned this track very fast during Sophie's research, because it was a smaller vessel (only 57 meters in length) than what I was trying to identify at that moment.
Back then, I have considered that this wreck (known at that time as the Tuzla wreck) could be a good match for the Nicholas, because the ship's dimensions fit perfectly, but Mircea was convinced the Tuzla wreck was made of steel, not wood (like Nicholas was), so the possibility was initially ruled out.
On September 10th, 2017, I made my first dive here. It was obvious from the very beginning that the wreck was wood, not steel, and all the features looked exactly like the images of Nicholas which I had in my archive. The resemblance is so obvious, there can no doubt that the wreck is Nicholas.
Starting from the stern, the diver will first encounter the remains of the cabin, followed by the base of the chimney. Just in front of it, the third cargo hold is closed, and the net securing the doors can be observed under the layer of mussels. After it, the second cargo hold has the doors opened. Then, between the second and the first cargo hold there is the base of the mast, followed by a winch. At the bow, the starboard side anchor is still in place and can be easily observed. Both the bow and the stern offer some majestic views, with rounded, elegant shapes. Going around the ship, the three belts reinforcing the ship's wale can be observed under the layer of mussels.