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Harmattan crew: I first came to know about this wreck in 1982. In 1983 I dived a shipwreck at out anchorage of Karachi Harbour. It had a huge hole aft on its starboard side next to its engine room.
Another detail I remember from first dives on this wreck were new propellers placed near its mast. Also all of its holds were open and its hold covers were folded open.
If this is Harmattan kindly confirm. I may have a few pictures.
Hi Dive Instructor,

I don't think the wreck you are diving on is Harmattan as she was not sunk but scrapped........however there were other ships involved with the incident that probably were sunk........Harmattan was stuck by a missile but not sunk, see as follows........ On 8 December 1971 Harmattan's career ended whilst anchored four miles offshore Karachi, hit in the funnel by an Indian Styx missile, fired from an Osa class patrol boat (glad I was not aboard!) she was declared a complete total loss, then sold to Pakistani breakers. Scrapped 5.72

There were incidents reported in the local paper at the time of the incident, I have read them somewhere on the net, if you have the time or inclination I'm sure you'll find them and discover exactly which ship/ships that were sunk........ apparently more than one ship was hit
with missiles of which 6 or so were fired.

Kind regards,

Simon
 

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Hi Simon,

thank you or taking the time to write. Yes, I know now that
Harmattan was finally scrapped after discharging its cargo of fertilizer at Karachi. I also have an eyewitness account from a crew member who was on another ship berthed at Karachi harbour at that time. He saw Harmattan towed into Karachi harbour on boxing day 1971.

There are a total of three wrecks at Karachi outer anchorage that need identification. Locally no records exist as you can understand the state of affairs in a lesser developed country like ours.

Anyhow, I will keep searching till I can get the info on these wrecks i.e. Zoe, Gulf Starr and Venus challenger. If anyone has pictures or access to photographs of these ships it would help me tremendously.
 

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Hi Robin,
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. As I am researching the wrecks from 1971 war I would be grateful if you could share any photographs you may have from that time. I believe I have dived on Zoe, Gulf Starr and Venus Challenger. Unfortunately there is no way to positively identify these wrecks in absence of photographs or records from the time.
I am doing this research to honor the victims who lost their lives in "someone else's war". Truly a tragedy especially when a naval vessel fires on unarmed civilians. Anyhow, war is all about atrocities. All we can do is honor and remember those who fell victim so that we do not repeat our mistakes.
I hope I will get further help from this wonderful bunch of people I have found here.
 

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Hi Xeal,
just for the record Pakistan had no ship to ship missile capability in 1971. India was the first nation to actually use missiles in naval warfare. They had acquired these missiles and high speed boats from Russia. Therefore the stray missile theory may be inaccurate.
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M.V. Harmattan funnel.

Another photo that I have posted in the past .......taken with my trusty Instamatic in Vancouver circa 1969.......wow times were tough in those days........see the spud locker above the galley.......happy but chatty Harrisons of London (hungry Harrisons!! haha) weevils in the rice, condensed milk only, sugar jam tea & coffee rationed by the Chief Steward, 4 cans of Tennants Lager only if you had the empties.......no movies, no washing machines.........the kids wouldn't be able to handle it these days!!!!
 

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the thing that amazed me more than anything regarding this incident was on returning home after 12 months aboard the M.V EUCADIA.{anchor donnaldsons}.the harmattans sad demise which i witnessed first hand as she was towed into karatchi boxing day 1971 as we were tied up in karatchi. was the lack of knowledge, i remember enquiring regarding the ship after my long leave ,reporting back to liverpool pool,mannisland. i spoke to shipping clerks/the N.U.S. knowone had any real info to pass on how many casualties etc...it was as if they never heared of the ship. i read in a sea breeze a few months later that the pakistani government of the day,sent our government an appology for there stray missile. and that was that. who said life at sea was a walk in the park? regards all xeal.(MAD)
Xeal, I have researched at length your comment about Pakistan Government's apologising for Harmattan destruction by a stray missile. The fact is that Pakistan had no missile capability at all in Dec 1971 on land or on our ships. Therefore, the stray missile apology must have come from the Indian Government not Pakistan. The Indian missile boats fired their missiles from just 12 miles from Karachi, so close that the rocket motors were found on the Harmattan as a naval survey of the ship revealed.
Pakistan at the time was so far from missile technology that the incoming missiles that night were mistaken for fighter aircrafts and little was known of this threat. I believe this attack may have been the first missile attack carried out by any navy till then. Both missions named trident and python by the Indian Navy were hailed as the first missile attacks in Naval history.
Harmattan owners however sued Pakistan Government for demurrage charges amounting to a few thousand pounds. The lawsuit was dismissed later. This is a matter of records that can be researched.
 

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Hi Robin,
I believe I have dived on Zoe, Gulf Starr and Venus Challenger. Unfortunately there is no way to positively identify these wrecks in absence of photographs or records from the time.
ZOE was not sunk, she escaped although damaged. She was scrapped in 1985.
GULF STAR could be your wreck as VENUS CHALLENGER was 23 nm S of Karachi when she was sunk.
 
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