Fyne Pioneer, Loch Fyne

Site Name: Akka - Clyde


The Akka was a steel motor vessel built by in Gothenburg by Gotaverken of Sweden, registered in Stockholm, and launched in September 1942. She measured 133 metres in length with a beam of 17 metres and a draught of 7.75 metres.


She was a cargo ship with six large holds covered by eight hatches. Her main deck was steel plated with a shelter deck beneath She was capable of speeds up to 12.5 knots, driven by 85 lbs. of pressure from two six cylinder oil engines. Her net weight was 3,053 tons with a gross weight of 5,409 tons. Amidships was her main superstructure above the engine room, this consisted of the galley, crew’s mess rooms, hospital room. Behind these were the 1st and 2nd Engineers and Chief Engineers cabins. Flights of stairs on either side of the hull, led up to the lounge and saloon, to the sides around the funnel housing were officers cabins. Her main mast rose up from the rear of this. The next deck up was the boat deck where two lifeboats were swung from davits either side of the funnel, for’ard were the Captains quarters, above which the bridge deck was situated.


On her final voyage from Oxelsund to Glasgow, the Akka had a cargo of iron ore. The Akka came to grief on 9th April 1956 after the steering failed as she slowed in preparation to take on board the pilot. Captain Sundin ordered the engines to be stopped, but the momentum carried her well on to the Gantock Rocks in the Firth of Clyde. The rocks ripped open her hull from hold No.2, and she was severely holed along almost half her length. Local inhabitants in Dunoon and Gourock heard the tearing and scraping noises and rushed out of their homes to see what had happened. The captain tried to go astern but this only compounded the damage by increasing the hole to include the engine room. Within 3 or 4 minutes she heeled over on her port side and sank in deep water. As she sank, spout of water rose 7 metres into the air. The resulting swell, helped by the explosions from the boilers, sank a number of lifeboats which did not have time to get out the way. A number of other rescue vessels were able to pick up survivors from the various sinkings. Three crew went down with her, three later died on the way to hospital and there were 27 survivors. The next morning, the only visible sign of the disaster was 12 feet of the Akka's mast sticking out of the water, marking her position on Dunoon Bank.


Three months later, while salvage was still being considered, the wreck was hit by a passing fishing vesse. This resulted in a demolition crew being sent down to remove the top two levels of her bridge and her funnel and masts, and later a two boat drag wire cleared the waters above the Akka to a depth of approximately 14 metres in 1962. The 17 foot four-bladed propeller was raised from Dunoon Bank in the Clyde by sports divers in 1989. Material reported to the Receiver of Wreck includes a gold ring engraved RB, a valve and handle, a compass binnacle, 17 plates, a key, a fork, a porthole and a toilet roll holder.

Dive Site Info

The Akka is the largest, submerged, diveable wreck in the Clyde, lying upright on the north side of Dunoon Bank on a muddy slope at depths of 18 - 40 metres. The seabed at the bow, which points approximately south east, is about 30 metres and at the stern, about 40 metres. The deck slopes from 16 to 24 metres from stem to stern. The wreck is mainly intact and with access to some areas inside, though visibility rapidly decreases when fins stir up the silt covering all surfaces. Hazards include darkness, potential current and fishing lines as the site is popular with fishermen. The Cardinal navigation buoy marking the main shipping channel is about 50 metres Southwest of the Akka’s stern. 

The fresh water at the surface can reduce visibility to 3 metres, but deeper it can be as good as 10 metres although still a little gloomy, so a good torch is essential. The holds do not carry anything of interest as she was transporting iron ore at the time of the sinking. The gunwales rise up about 3 metres from the main deck of the Akka, which affords you some protection against the current. The broken derrick stumps, now covered with sea life, indicate their position before the clearance sweep. Ropes and cables are strewn over the side supporting more sea life. The accommodation quarters amidships are left as a skeleton frame work, as much of the plating and the decking has rotted away. Great care must be taken as the frame work is now rotting and can easily collapse. It is possible to drop down into the hold in front of the bridge and exit through the hole which brought about her demise. One of the derricks has fallen across forward holds numbers two and three, this can be used as a good guide to lead the way to shallower water. Silt can cause a problem inside the wreck, so great care should be taken by properly equipped divers. Many dives can be made due to the size of the wreck.


A superb wreck set in stunning above water scenery and almost wholly covered in masses of filter marine life, this wreck is a macro photographers heaven. Every square inch of the wreck is covered in marine life and particularly orange and white plumose anemones, peacock worms and dead men's fingers, carpets of brittle stars, clams, hydroids, nudibranchs (flabellina varieties are common), protantheus simplex anemones, sagartia anemones, bolocera anemones, sea squirts, crabs, squat lobsters, and fish including cuckoo wrasse and pollock. Occasionally seals will come to play and will swim along the underwater companionways. The wreck itself is impressive due to its sheer size, but with the accompanying marine life it is a stunning and very rewarding dive, and arguably one of the best in the UK.

When to dive

The wreck can be dived safely at any state of the tide. The best time to dive the Akka is at high water slack on a neap tide. Visibility is often best on the flood tide to high water slack.  In mid run the tidal stream can reach up to 2 knots around Dunoon Bank.