Historical research – Text: Dimitris Galon
The construction of the aquifer of the Hellenic Navy STYMPHALIA (formerly the Italian aquifer NERA ) began on 01.03.1913 by order of the Italian Royal Navy ( Regia Marina Italiana) in Esercizio Bacini shipyard in Riva Trigoso (Sestri Levante), in Italy, with the construction number 63.
The ship was launched on 14.03.1914 and commissioned as an aquifer (Italian. Navi Cisterna) under the name “NERA” on 09.08.1914.
It was of the “ADDA” class and had the following technical characteristics:
During World War II and after the Italian armistice on 08.09.1943, NERA was in Leros joined the other ships of Regia Marina Italiana after the island’s occupation by the British army Allied forces.
On 05.10.1943, a German air raid hit the “NERA” on the bay of Porto Lago (now Lakki). The vessel remained inactive until the end of “Operation Typhoon” (germ. Operation Taifun ) and the occupation of Leros by the German army on16.11.1943.
After the end of the war, the Allies spotted the “NERA” along with its sister ship, the water carrier “ADDA” (which gave the name to this specific Italian class of water carriers), in Porto Lago and declared them as war booty and were assigned to the Greek Royal Navy. “NERA” was named as “STYMPHALIA” and “ADDA” as “KALLIROI”. The Greek Navy used them both as water carriers. KALLIROI was decommissioned in 1965 and STYMFALIA in 1978.
STYMPHALIA later received the tactical number “A-472”, it was decommissioned on 28.09.1976 and sank as a target at the Alepohori firing range on 18.09.1978.
The wreck of H.S. W.C. STYMPHALIA (former NERA) sits upwards on a sandy seabed, points to the southwest.
The funnel collapsed, but her two ventilators in the midship are particularly noticeable. At the stern, we can notice the propeller and the rudder, which is turned to the left.
In this section, a diver may penetrate to 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. There, hidden among ghost nets, we located a European Lobster (Homarus Gammarus). In the midship, the superstructure and the accommodation and steering chambers remain intact.
The H.S. W.C. STYMPHALIA (formerly NERA) shipwreck lays on a maximum depth of 34 and a minimum of 28 meters and represents one of the few historical wrecks of the Greek Seas with a long history of more than a century.
Finally, we would like to thank George Toumbaniaris for diving with us, on the 8th of May 2011.