For such a large, prominent wreck, there is actually very little known about the Brioni.
The book, Treasures of the Adriatic, has some information about the ship which is summarized below:
It was a large, mixed passenger-cargo ship that was built in Monfalcone, Italy. It had a triple expansion steam engine and one very large propeller and transported people and cargo along a coastal route to Dalmatia and Albania. During WW I, it was used by the navy as a transport ship. On 16 Feb 1917, it ran aground but was re-floated in March 1917 and then went back into military service. In 1925, the ship was sold to another company and it continued to sail along the Adriatic coast. On 2 Feb 1930, in poor visibility conditions and due to some navigation errors, it ran aground and quickly sank.
The Brioni lays on her port side with the bow facing downslope. The bottom of the wreck is about 200 feet deep and the top is about 150 feet. Below is a diagram from the aforementioned book:
We started the dive from a mooring ball that is in the shallower waters and followed the slope down. The visibility was somewhat limited so it took some time to find the wreck but something that big is hard to miss. Since Alesh was on open circuit, he spent more time at the top of the wreck as I explored different areas. I spent some time inside looking for the engine room but didn’t find it. Given the size of the ship, I didn’t really get to spend any time at the bow either. I guess I will have to return…
As with many other wrecks in the area, this wreck is very picturesque and is covered in the familiar yellow sponges.
As I ended my dive, I went back to the spot we initially came onto the wreck and took a heading back to the slope. I wasn’t sure I would find the exact spot of the boat so I sent up a SMB to do my deco and alert the crew. Soon thereafter, I heard a large boat and realized that the Manta Dive center boat had moored nearby and then I saw the boat from B-24 close by. I guess I didn’t need the SMB after all.
Treasures of the Adriatic book