10 Shipwrecks in Malta and Gozo: Unveiling the Hidden Gems

Diving has become a popular vacation activity, offering a glimpse into the mesmerizing world beneath the waves. While corals and fish are captivating, how about discovering something truly extraordinary? Get ready to dive in and explore 10 intriguing shipwrecks that lie beneath the surface in Malta and Gozo.

The wreck of the P31 Patrol Boat in Gozo
The wreck of the P31 Patrol Boat in Gozo

HMS Maori – The Silent Witness of History:

Named after the Mãori people of New Zealand, this Tribal-class destroyer was a prominent figure during World War II. Serving in the Mediterranean Fleet, she sailed as far as Iceland and the Faroe Islands to protect against enemy planes. Unfortunately, a German aircraft attack outside of Malta caused her engine to explode, leaving only the front section submerged.

Um El Faroud – From Tragedy to Underwater Attraction:

 Once a fuel-carrying vessel between Italy and Libya, Um El Faroud met a devastating explosion in February 1995, causing the loss of nine workers. After thorough inspections, authorities decided to sink the ship and create a unique diving site. Witnessed by thousands, Um El Faroud descended below the waves, becoming a poignant tribute to those who lost their lives.
The Um El Faroud
The Um El Faroud

HMS Southwold – A Tale of Two Wrecks:

 This British Hunt-class destroyer played its part in the Mediterranean during World War II. After just a few months of service, she met her fate in March 1942. Today, the wreck has split into two separate parts, resting approximately 300 meters apart.

HMS Stubborn – An Unyielding Submarine:

 Launched in November 1942, this Royal Navy S-class submarine served in the Scandinavian coast and Pacific Far East during WWII. After surviving significant damage, she was eventually sunk in April 1946 off the coast of Malta as part of an Anti-submarine Division.

HMS Drifter Eddy – A Minesweeper’s Tragic End:

 Originally built in Scotland in 1918, this drifter transformed into a minesweeper in Malta’s Grand Harbor for the Royal Navy. In May 1942, tragedy struck as Eddy hit a mine near the harbor, resulting in the loss of eight crew members.

MV Karwela – From Ferry to Underwater Wonderland:

 Originally built in Germany in 1957, MV Karwela served as a tourist ferry in Malta before decommissioning in 2002. Later, authorities purposely sunk her off Gozo’s south-east coast to create an artificial reef. Interestingly, they even placed a Volkswagen Beetle on her deck before sinking, adding an unexpected touch of quirkiness.
Wreckage of the MV Karwela
Wreckage of the MV Karwela

Le Polynesien – A Century-Old Voyage:

 Launched in 1890, this ship operated between France, Australia, and the Far East, carrying passengers to the French Colonies. In August 1918, tragedy struck when a torpedo from a submarine struck her, resulting in her sinking within thirty minutes and claiming several lives.

ORP Kujawiak – A Heroic Sacrifice:

 Originally named HMS Oakley, this British destroyer escort was commissioned into the Polish Navy in 1941 as ORP Kujawiak. Tragically, she encountered a mine near Malta in June 1942, resulting in the loss of lives and injuries.

MV Imperial Eagle: From Maiden Voyage to Subaquatic Spectacle

Constructed in Sunderland, England, the vessel set sail in the maritime expanse of 1938. Upon reaching the shores of Malta, it found itself under the ownership of Sunny and Maria Pisani, scions of Gozo.

Known as the Imperial Eagle, this maritime marvel boasted accommodations for 70 souls and a hold spacious enough to stow away 10 automobiles. On the auspicious date of June 1st, 1958, it embarked on its inaugural journey, ferrying passengers betwixt the isles of Malta and Gozo, a voyage it faithfully undertook for a decade hence.

Transitioning its duties in 1968, the vessel shifted its focus to the transportation of cargo and the carriage of beasts from Gozo to Valletta, doubling as a repository when need arose.

Come November of 1995, the Imperial Eagle found itself exchanged into the hands of the local diving fraternity, slated to be submerged as an aquatic spectacle. Four years hence, in the balmy month of July 1999, its fate was sealed as it descended into the depths, becoming an alluring beacon for subaquatic explorers.

Tug Boat Rozi – A Unique Underwater Attraction:

 Built in Bristol, England, in 1958, this vessel served in Malta’s Grand Harbor as a tugboat until its decommissioning in 1992. Later, it found a new purpose as a scuttled wreck on Malta’s northwest side, captivating divers with its intriguing presence.
Diver exploring Tugboat Rozi
Diver exploring Tugboat Rozi

While you’re above the water and not exploring the 10 shipwrecks around Malta and Gozo, make sure to check out themed tours to uncover Malta’s history—one theme at a time. CLICK HERE for more information.

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