|Type||Bulk Carrier, Cardiff Class|
|Draft||9.95m (depth 14.02m)|
|Cargo||5 holds, 4 cranes, empty|
|Builder||Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd Govan in 1971|
|Flag||Malta, since August 11th, 1993|
|Owner||Paris Shipping Ltd Malta, represented by Neptune Maritime Services Inc. Athens, rented (time-charter) by ITAL MARE SPA-Italia and M.A. Karagiorgis|
|Insurer||P&I The West of England, represented in Romania by Kalimbassieris Maritime Co. Ltd., Eforie Nord|
|Sink date||January 4th, 1995|
|Sink reason||drifted into, and struck the Constanta's harbour north breakwater, during a heavy storm, due to a broken windlass which prevented the crew from weighing the anchor|
|Coordinates||N44 07.626 E028 41.670|
The Cardiff class of vessels was designed in the late 1960s by the shipping company Sir William Reardon Smith from Cardiff, in collaboration with the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders from Glasgow (later Govan Shipbuilders, from 1972). Together, they have created a ship design intended to be used mainly for the steel and wood trade between Europe and North America. The Reardon Smith Line ordered the first 7 units, and Irish Shipping from Dublin purchased the next 4 units.
Initially the ship class was named 840 by the build number of the first ship. Later, the builder named the class Cardiff by the city of their first customer.
The Cardigan Shipping company also ordered 4 vessels of the Cardiff class, the Norse Pilot, Norse Marshal (which will become Paris), Norse Trader and Norse Herald.
In total, there have been 31 Cardiff-class ships built, between 1969 and 1981. During this time interval, various details have been changed, leading to 4 variations (Mark I to Mark IV). The basic design was as open multipurpose bulk carrier - generally known as Handysize, with five cargo holds and 4 cranes. The charging capacity for grain cargo, for which also the side ballast tanks could be used as a loading space, was 38368 cubic meters. Further more, another 15676 cubic meters of cargo could be stored on deck, stowed at around six meters loading height over the hatches. For cargo handling the vessels were initially fitted with five electro-hydraulic cranes manufactured by Hägglunds, having 15 tons lifting capacity. Later models of the class received more powerful cranes with 25 tons lifting capacity. The ship's propulsion system consisted of six-cylinder two-stroke diesel engines of Burmeister & Wain K series, built under license by either JG Kincaid & Company from Greenock or Hitachi.
Three of the Cardiff-class ships sank during their life, of which in two cases (one of them being Paris) the entire crew was killed. Another unit was lost in a fire.
The Norse Marshal (which will later become Paris during its life) was laid as yard number 114. It was launched on May 14th 1971 for Cardigan Shipping Co. Ltd from Great Britain. Her main engines were built by Hitachy-B&W, being powered by a type 6K74EF M6cy 2SA 8532kW 11600bhp providing a maximum speed of 14 knots.
During its life, the ship bore 6 names, changed 6 owners and wore 4 different flags:
The worst naval accident in the history of Constanta harbour happened on January 4th, 1995, when two ships hit the north breakwater, during a heavy storm with 10 meter high waves. They sank after the collision, without any survivor. The two ships were You Xiu, registered in Hong Kong, and Paris, registered in Malta.
Paris had arrived empty in Constanta on December 14th, 1994, from Piraeus, with the purpose of loading 25000 tons of urea. It was standing anchored at about 3.8 miles from the north breakwater of the Constanta harbour. As their fuel was getting low (they were having only 12 tons of light fuel and 236 tons of heavy fuel), the ship had requested permission from the harbour master to dock and load more fuel. The permission was granted on January 4th, 1995, at 12:00. At 13:15 the ship was instructed to weigh the anchor and move to the harbour entrance. At 14:00 the pilot boat Atlas 1 departed to the harbour entrance, were it waited for Paris' arrival for about 2 hours. At 14:15, the harbour traffic control contacted Paris again, requesting information about the status of the anchor weighing operation. From Paris, there was a reply according to which there was a malfunction of the windlass, and they were trying to fix it. At 17:00 Paris confirmed again that windlass repairs are in progress and they will remain in position until next morning, asking also the harbour master to inform the other ships about their issue.
At 18:10, the harbour master observed that Paris' anchor was drifting and the vessel was getting close to the breakwater. The captain of Paris has been warned multiple times about the danger and he was advised to sail windward. At 19:00, the ship was at only 0.55 miles from the breakwater, and closing. The captain informed the harbour master that their rudder is turned towards starboard and the machine is ahead full. It was too late. Because of the strong winds and huge waves, the ship could not be controlled anymore. At 19:20, on the harbour's radar, the ship was shown overlapping the breakwater's position. The S.O.S signal was issued at 19:50, and at 20:10 the captain requested a telephony call with Athens. During the phone call, which lasted 12 minutes, the captain didn't show any sign of stress.
The tugboat Viteazul (IMO number 7623382), which was sent to assist Paris, reached the vessel's position (but on the other side of the breakwater) at 20:15, and informed the harbour master that the ship had no lights on.
At 20:30 the last message was received from Paris, saying that the vessel's bow is sinking. At 21:45 the tug boat Viteazul transmitted that Paris has gone under water. Later, at 00:12 (on January 5th), Viteazul radioed again, telling that only a single mast can be still seen above the water.
The wreck is lying on a sandy bottom, at a depth of 22m, in close vicinity to the north breakwater of Constanta harbour. The wreck is split in two parts, the most interesting being of course the stern, with the command castle. The command castle is heeling about 40 degrees towards starboard.
The wreck has many holes cut probably for training purposes by commercial divers, which allow for easy penetration routes. On the port side, the deck-level passage way is pretty nice. One of the biggest holes are in the aft side of the command castle, and communicates with a smaller hole on the port side.
From the same port side hole, if you navigate towards the bow (left as you enter), a small hole leads down into the engine room, and from there, out through a big hole caused probably by the impact with the breakwater.
Another long hall (with an entrance of the bow side of the command castle) has a bath tub in it (but my notes on the topic are pretty brief, unfortunately I haven't kept enough details about finding it).
This is a video from my IANTD Wreck Diver course, inside Paris, in 2013: