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HMS Maori

Location Valletta
Type Wreck (Tribal Class Destroyer)
Maximum Depth 15 metres
Entry & Exit Shore
Typical Marine Life Wrasse, Sea Bream, Scorpion Fish, Moray Eel, Octopus

Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Limited (Govan, Scotland) and launched 2nd September 1937, the Tribal Class Destroyer HMS Maori acquired her name from the Maori people of New Zealand. She joined HMS Cossack's division in January 1939 and was the last Tribal to go to war in the Mediterranean.

On 12th February 1942 at 0200hours, while anchored at Malta, HMS Maori was attacked from the air and a bomb found its way into her engine and gear room. The Tribal blew up and sank, still moored at the emergency destroyer buoy at the entrance to Dockyard Creek. Crews from other ships helped in the rescue work as blazing oil spread across the water. Since off-duty personnel customarily slept ashore in shelters while in Malta, only one man was killed in the attack.

At daybreak, Maori's forepart still showed above the water and the wreck seriously interfered with shipping movements but it was decided to leave her there for the time being. Her 'A' and 'B' guns were still in good order so it was suggested that those guns be mounted on the Ricassoli Breakwater for the Army's use. Bombs still fell on Maori during succeeding air attacks.

By the end of 1942, the Admiralty decided that her wreck should be lifted, moved out of Grand Harbour and set down off Sliema. On 5 July 1945, Maori's hulk was scuttled finally in deep water far away from the harbour.

Following decades of erosion much of the superstructure is now found strewn alongside the vessel on the seabed. Even without the artillery visible, HMS Maori is a fascinating dive. Some sections of the wreck are easily recognizable as parts of an old warship, while others remain a mystery offering post dive discussion for those determined to piece the entire wreck together. As with most wrecks of this age, HMS Maori hosts an abundance of marine life with the many cracks and crevasses offering sanctuary to numerous octopus and scorpion fish.

Valletta is situated 45 minutes drive from AquaVenture.


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