The Kormoran was built in the then East Germany in 1963. It's a small, 1580 ton freighter with two holds forward of an engine and bridge at the stern. Designed to operate in the Baltic winter, it had ice-breaking bows. The strength and angle of the bows doubtless explains why they are still intact and have cut so far into the reef. Meanwhile, damage from the wrecking has been exploited by the waves to flatten everything between the bows and the stern. The wrecking of the Kormoran remains unexplained. The Straits of Tiran are a busy shipping channel, and there are charted shipping lanes with a separation zone about the Tiran reefs. The south-going lane is to the west of the reefs and the north-going lane to the east. In August 1984, the Kormoran drove into the reef at full speed, heading southward from Aqaba with a cargo of phosphate. To hit Laguna Reef, it must have crossed the opposing lane. The ship wasn't that old, and it's hard to imagine an insurance job being this far off-course, as there are many opportunities to drive into a reef much closer to the correct shipping lane.
Descending upon the wreck you can see some scraps of wreckage on the reef at 45 ft (15m.) The reef is in fantastic condition, terrace on terrace of pristine table corals following the gentle slope into the distance. If it weren't for the attraction of the wreck, you would be happy just admiring the reef. As it is, you follow the wreckage uphill and the stern of the wreck soon comes into view, twisted towards you on its starboard side. Looking up, the port railing almost breaks the surface. You and your buddy duck round the back of the stern. The propeller and rudder are still in place, rudder amidships. Only a little further forward, the wreck breaks up, leaving a canted diesel engine exposed above a field of flattened plates and girders, sparsely peppered with winches, masts and bollards. Sprigs of table coral have become established on the wreckage, some now a respectable size. The port side of the wreck is closest to the reef. As you work your way forwards, You can see how the Kormoran cut an angled blow into the reef. The damage to the reef is only a meter or so deep at the stern, but at the bows it's a good 3m deep, leaving the top of the reef level with the tip of the bow.