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The dive site MV L M Gemsbok is an offshore deep recent wreck in the Sea Point area on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.


Diving the wreck of the MV Gemsbok
See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Understand


1 MV Gemsbok: S33°52.910' E18°20.315'

This site is in the Robben Island Marine Protected Area since 2019. A permit is required.


The 39.2 x 8.3 m 314 grt single screw buoy tender MV L M Gemsbok built 1965, capsized and sank about 4 km from Green Point Light house on 2nd September 1975 while transferring an anchor chain of a cargo vessel. The chain snagged and the weight of the chain caused the vessel to capsize and sink within minutes. The wreck lies on its starboard side.


Deep dive: Maximum depth on the wreck is about 57 m on the sand, and the top of the port side is about 50 m. Average depth of the site is likely to be about 54 m.


Visibility is unpredictable, and is not necessarily indicated by surface conditions. In December 2019 visibility exceeded 20 m under a 6 m layer of plankton bloom one weekend, and the next weekend it was less than 2 m all the way down, and almost totally dark at the wreck.


The wreck is substantially intact, with the mast still in place. There are a few places where hull plating has wasted sufficiently to break through. Th wreck lies on the starboard side on a fairly flat sand bottom with the deck almost vertical. The propeller is still in place on the shaft and there is a gantry mast and bow gantry still in place A large hatch on the foredeck gives access to part of the interior. The port bow anchor is in the hawsepipe.


Get in[edit]

See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Boat dives

Access to this site is only possible by boat, usually from Oceana Power Boat Club slipway at Granger Bay.

There are day charter boats which can take a diver to any of the dive sites in the region, but most operators only work from a limited number of launch sites, which limits the dive sites they visit. Visits to a dive site also depend on the weather and are generally not predictable or bookable more than two to four days in advance. See the listing for Cape Peninsula and False Bay boat dive charters and the associated services directory for contact details.


Marine life[edit]

See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#The marine ecology

Marine growth on the wreck is relatively sparse.


Recent steel wreck of buoy and mooring tender vessel in substantially intact condition.



Stay safe[edit]

See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Stay safe


Cold water. Nitrogen narcosis. Decompression sickness, Breathing gas emergencies. Sea and wind conditions changing during a dive.


Competence in planning and performing technical dives to depths beyond the range of recreational diving. Skill in the use of appropriate equipment and gases for the planned dive. Dives on this site will be decompression dives


See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Equipment

Dives on this site should make use of appropriate helium based gas mixes and equipment suitable for the planned profile. Redundancy of gas supply, decompression gases, Backup light, DSMB with reel, redundant buoyancy control, and adequate thermal protection for cold water (dry suits strongly recommended) are necessary. If penetrations are planned, the appropriate equipment must be used.


Three Anchor Bay. The yellow lines are boundaries of the MPAs, and the orange lines are boundaries of restricted zones within the MPAs.

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Other regional dive sites:

This dive guide to MV Gemsbok is a usable article. It has information on location and equipment as well as some complete entries on what to see. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.