H.S. Water Carrier STYMPHALIA (former Italian NERA)
On 1 July 2017 Antonis Grafas Diving Team, in cooperation with George Toumpaniaris, dived, filmed and photographed the wreck of the Hellenic Navy’s water carrier “STYMPHALIA” (former Italian water carrier NERA), which was sank as a target on 18 September 1978 in “Alepochorion Shooting Range” in Greece.
The vessel’s construction with no. 63 initiated on 1 March 1913, by order of the Royal Italian Navy (Regia Marina Italiana), in Esercizio Bacini shipyard in Riva Trigoso (Sestri Levante) in Italy. She was launched on 14 March 1914 and was commissioned as a water carrier (“Navi Cisterna”) named NERA on 9 August 1914. She belonged to the Italian water carrier class “ADDA” and had the following technical characteristics:
Type: Water Carrier
Tonaz: 281 tons
Displacement (loaded): 400 tons
Total length: 32,2 meters
Width: 6 meters
Propulsion: Steam engine 170 hp
Speed: 8.5 knots
Crew: 13 people
During WWII and after the Italian armistice on 8 September 1943, NERA was deployed on Leros Island with other ships of the Regia Marina Italiana. After the occupation of Leros by the British army, she became a vessel of the Allies. On 5 October 1943 she was damaged in the bay of Porto Lagos (now days “Lakki”) due to a German air raid. The vessel remained inactive until the end of “Operation Typhoon” and the final occupation of Leros by the German army on 16 November 1943. After the end of the war, NERA was spotted along with her sister ship, the water carrier ADDA – which gave the name to this specific Italian class of water carriers -, by the Allies in Porto Lago and was declared as a war booty. Both of the vessels were handed over to the Greek Royal Navy where they received the names KALLIROI (ADDA) and STYMPHALIA (NERA). Both of them where been used as water carriers for the needs of the Greek Navy until 1965 the first and 1978 the second. KALLIROI was decommissioned in 1965 and STYMFALIA in 1978. After being renamed in STYMPHALIA she received in addition the tactical sign “A-472”. On 28 September 1976 NERA was decommissioned of the Hellenic Navy and on 18 September 1978 she sank as a target for Navy/s tactical fire in the “Alepochorion Shooting Range” in Greece.
The wreck of STYMFALIA (former NERA) sits upwards on a sandy bottom while her bow points to the Southwest. The funnel collapsed but her two ventilators in the midship are particularly conspicuous. The bow and the stern were covered with fishing nets, but after a clearing action, carried out by a team of volunteer divers, are now clear and visible again. At the aft the propeller and the rudder, which shows to backboard, are also conspicuous. In this section, the ambitious divers have the possibility to penetrate the lower part of the vessel where the engine, several gauges and various objects are visible. On the bow the anchor chain, the entrance of the forecastle and the low part of the front mast, among other debris of the structure, are also conspicuous. In the midship the superstructure and the steering chamber remains intact. The STYMPHALIA shipwreck lays on maximum depth of 34 and minimum 28 meters and represents one of the few historical wrecks of the Greek Seas with a long history of more than a century.
Navi Militari Perdute, Ufficio Storico della Marina Militare, La Marina italiana nella seconde guerra mondiale, Vol. II, 3 Ed., Roma, 1965
Παΐζης-Παραδέλης, Κ.: Τα πλοία του Ελληνικού Πολεμικού Ναυτικού 1830-1979, εκδ. Γενικό Επιτελείο Ναυτικού 1979
Θωκταρίδης, Κώστας / Άρης Μπιλάλης: Λείες Πολέμου, Ναυτική Επιθεώρηση Τεύχος 583, Τόμος 173ος, Δεκέμβριος 2012 – Ιανουάριος – Φεβρουάριος 2013