The Boma is a great deep er dive for Advanced Open Water Divers, with an intact Bow and broken midships lying in 32m of water, a popular local dive
Dive Site Name: Boma Dive Type: Wreck Dive
Max Depth Seabed: 32m Depth to top of Wreck: 20m
Approximate Position: 50,32.09N 003,14.14W
Tonnage: 2694tonnes Length: 312Ft Cargo: Hay and Potatoes
Date Lost: 11/06/1918 How Lost: Torpedoed UB 80
Minimum Qualification: PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (Or Equivilent)
The Boma was originally built in 1889 at Barrow. She was one of 4 sister shipBoma photo possibly 1889 built Bomas, (Matadi, Coomassie, Soudan), however the final layout of all 4 was different so gaining a true picture of her is a little difficult. She was originally owned by the British and African Steam Navigation Co. Ltd, and then by Elder Dempster before joing HM Transport in 1914. Research gives several Tonnages for her 2681T from theshiplist.com and Elder Dempster
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elder_Dempster_Lines ) list her as 2510T. She was armed with 1 3inch high angle gun. Finding pictures of the Boma has been difficult and we would appreciate anyone verifying the photo's we have of her as being the correct SS Boma built in 1889.
The Boma was on passage from Belfast to St Helens, Isle of Wight calling in at Falmouth on passage. Reports suggest that although the Master should have been sailing a Zig Zag course he felt it was unsafe to do so on passage up the Channel as there were too many other vessels. At 22:15 (some report 22:00) there was a violent explosion in holds 3&4, a Torpedo fired by UB-80 Kapitanleutnant Biebeg had hit her starboard side. The Boma began to sink quickly and the crew took to the lifeboats. By 22:20 on the 11th June 1918 the Boma had sunk to its resting place in 32m of water approx 6 miles off Sidmouth on a sandy seabed. The crew were found in the boats at 01:00hrs the following morning by the Drifter Veteran and the crew were landed in Torquay. The ship sank with her confidential papers and code books.
52years later in 1970 she was salvaged however there are still some portholes intact on her. She now lies broken with her bow reasonably intact and is an interesting wreck dive especially if you get across the broken midships from bow to stern.
As always thanks to Richard Clarke for his assitance with the research and also the map of the Boma as she now is http://www.divesouthdevon.com/
Other images of the Boma below include a Circa 1910 drawing of the SS Boma transhipping Cargo and her sister ship the SS Coomassie (verified) as well as another image we think is the Boma. Richard has also drawn this map which is the most recent we have of the site, a better version is in the wreck file on Seaquest to check out before you dive.
Other credits for the Boma: