Blog

3rd April 2020

Tug 2

The tugboat is 30m long, has a 7.5m beam, built at Malta Drydocks and was decommissioned after more than a decade in operation. It was originally owned and operated by Kalaxlokk Co. Ltd and in 2000 it was purchased by Bezzina Marine Services Ltd.

The vessel had been docked at Bezzina Shipyards for the past 12 years, and it has recently undergone the necessary cleaning and preparation for use as a diving wreck.

The tug was scuttled on 20th June 2013 and now lies upright 250 metres off St Julians and 389 metres from Portomaso breakwater on a sandy bottom at a maximum depth of 20m.


2nd April 2020

The Two Tugs – St. Michael & No. 10

St Michael is a Tanac Type tugboat built in 1944 in Canada and is 20 metres long.

Number 10 is a Melita Type tugboat built in Malta and is 16 meters long.

Both served for many years towing numerous ships around the Grand Harbour.

Prior to their scuttling, the tugs were laid up at Jetties Wharf and subsequently sunk at their mooring, remaining partly submerged for many years.

They underwent a clean up operation to be made environmentally and diver friendly – all glass, doors and hatches were removed and passageways opened to prevent divers who venture within from becoming trapped. The preparation, towing and scuttling operations were funded by Charles and Anthony Cassar Boat and Ship Repair Ltd. of Marsa.

The tugboats St. Michael and 10 were scuttled on the 16th May 1998, as part of a plan to create an artificial reef at Zonqor Point in Marsascala. At a maximum depth of 22m they are both upright on a flat sandy bottom.


1st April 2020

Cominoland

Miner VI was built by Philip & Son Ltd, Dartmouth and commissioned by the Royal Navy Admiraly. She was launched in 1942.

Acquired by Zammit & Sons Ltd, Malta in 1966 and renamed Minor Eagle. She was converted to a ferry and could load more than 400 passengers and 10 cars, she provided ferry services between Valletta and Comino.

In 1976 it was re-named the Cominoland and was owned by the Gozo Channel Co. Ltd. In 1980 it was named “Jylland II” and later on “Cominoland” again by the last owner Captain Morgan cruises.

The Cominoland was scuttled by the Maltese Government on 12th August 2006 and now lies on a sandy bottom infront of Xatt l-Ahmar in Gozo at a maximum depth of 42m.

Karwela

This ship was built by Meyer Jos L., Papenburg (West Germany) and launched in 1957 as M/S Frisia II.

In 1977 she was named the Nordpaloma and came to Malta in 1986. She was renamed Karwela in 1987 and was owned by Comino Marina LTD till about 2002.

The Karwela was scuttled by the Maltese Government on 12th August 2006 and now lies on a sandy bottom infront of Xatt l-Ahmar in Gozo at a maximum depth of 42m.


31st March 2020

Xlendi

Built by Helsingor Vaerft, Helsingør (Denmark) in 1955 for De Danske Statsbaner, Helsingør as a train ferry, it weighs 1123 gross tones and is 80 meters long.

The vessel was bought by Gozo Channel in February 1990 for Lm327, 000, the Xlendi was meant to serve as a cargo carrier between Malta and Gozo, augmenting the service provided by the MV Ghawdex. But the ship ended up ferrying passengers and cars. It could take up to 65 vehicles. Its shape, however, earned it the ignoble title of the coffin.

The Xlendi had its fair share of mishaps. It had sustained considerable damage in 1992 when it ran aground at Comino while crossing from Cirkewwa to Mgarr. None of the 80 passengers was injured and only one of 42 cars was slightly damaged. Three years later, in 1995, it hit the quay at Mgarr, sustaining minor damage. In June 1999 a small fire broke out on deck.

MV Xlendi was handed over to the Gozo Tourism Association to scuttle as an attraction for divers, after it had stopped operating in 1997. After a lengthy process to obtain a permit to sink her off Xatt L-Ahmar, on 12th November 1999 Xlendi finally hit the seabed. But due to prevailing winds at the time of scuttling the vessel was pushed off the selected and desired position.

The wreck currently lies up side down on a sandy slope 40 meters deep, and 30 meters at its shallowest, its keel.


30th March 2020

Imperial Eagle

New Royal Lady was built by J. Crown & Sons Limited (Sunderland, England), powered by two oil engines manufactured by Crossley Bros Ltd, she was launched in 1938.

She was used for morning, afternoon and evening trips from Scarborough, and her higher speed of 14 knots also allowed occasional longer cruises to Bridlington and Whitby. Her funnels were yellow, with rather gaudy red, white and blue bands. She only had two seasons at Scarborough before the start of the Second World War, and she was requisitioned by the Royal Navy in 1940 for transport duties.

She was purchased by the MOWT in 1942, managed by Fraser & Wright. In 1944 she was attached to the US Navy.

New Royal Lady was resold to her owners in 1946, who sold her the following year to John Hall of Kirkaldy, for service on the Firth of Forth.

Later the same year she passed to the General Steam Navigation Co and was renamed as the Crested Eagle (2), for cruises on the Thames from London to Gravesend and Southend, plus PLA Docks cruises. From 1952 she was taken off the PLA cruises and based in Ramsgate for local trips.

In 1956, Crested Eagle (2) became a regular service vessel, running from Gravesend to Southend and Clacton daily except Mondays. P.& A.Campbell chartered Crested Eagle (2) in 1957 for services on the South Coast. She ran short trips from Eastbourne to Hastings, except Fridays when she ran from Brighton to Shanklin.

Crested Eagle (2) did not sail for the GSN again, and was bought by E Zammit & Co Malta and renamed Imperial Eagle for service between Malta and Gozo.

Imperial Eagle made its maiden voyage between Malta & Gozo on 1st June 1958, it had accommodation for 70 passengers and room for 10 cars. It remained on the Mgarr to Marfa route until March 1968. She also did occasional trips to Sicily and on these was held locally in ill-repute as a bad sailer.

Imperial Eagle was subsequently bought by Sunny & Mary Pisani from Gozo and was used to transport cargo and animals from Gozo to Valletta.

For at least 10 years she lay rotting in Mgarr harbour (Gozo) and was eventually towed to Valletta harbour where she was badly vandalised and half sunk at her moorings.

In November 1995 Imperial Eagle was bought by the local Diving community to be sunk as the centrepiece attraction of an underwater marine park.

On 19th July 1999, after years fighting bureaucracy and red tape, she was finally scuttled off Qawra point on the north of the island, and is sitting upright at 40m.

Near to the wreck is a magnificent statue of Jesus Christ which was blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1990 and placed on the seabed to protect the fishermen of Malta.


28th March 2020

P31 Patrol Boat

The East German Kondor I Class minesweeper Pasewalk (Gs05, ex-G423) was built by VEB Peenewerft shipyard in Wolgast and launched on 18th June 1968.

It was purchased by Malta in 1992 along with her sister ship P30 (formerly Ueckermuende) and became a patrol boat of the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta. It was used to secure the Maltese coast against smuggling and border control operations. Most notably was the rescue of 251 illegal immigrants in 2002 from their 20 metre boat which was sinking 44 miles to the south of Malta in over force 6 winds.

P31 was decommissioned in 2004 and bought by the Malta Tourism Authority. It was sunk as an attraction for divers on 24th August 2009.

She now sits upright on white sand at a maximum depth of 21m.


27th March 2020

Um El Faroud

Built by Smith Dock Company Limited (Middlesborough, England) and launched in 1969, this 110m long, 10,000 ton tanker had been operating between Italy and Libya carrying refined fuel up to 1st February 1995.

On the 3rd February 1995 it was docked at No.3 Dock of Malta Dry-docks.

During the night of the 3rd February an explosion occurred in No.3 centre tank and 9 shipyard workers lost their lives. The vessel suffered structured deformation and was considered following inspection and survey, a total write off.

It had been occupying this dock ever since the explosion until it was decided that the best option to utilize its remaining value was to scuttle her as a diving attraction and to start a new life as an artificial reef.

On 2nd September 1998 Mt Um El Faroud was towed out of Grand Harbour en route towards its final destination. After the ship was anchored on location and kept in position by means of a small MDD tug, Um El Faroud went under after nearly four hours long wait for the ship to fill up with sea water.

The wreck now sits upright on a sandy bottom 150m off from Wied Iz-Zurrieq at a maximum depth of 36m.


26th March 2020

P29 Patrol Boat

The East German Kondor I Class minesweeper Boltenhagen (ex BG31, GS09, G443) was built by VEB Peenewerft shipyard in Wolgast and launched in 1967.

In August 1997, after a three week voyage from Germany, the Armed Forces of Malta’s Maritime Squadron took delivery of their third Kondor vessel, the P29. When the ship arrived in Malta, it was greeted by the family and friends of the crew. The Kondor vessels were the first war ships the AFM ever commissioned, and it was thanks to them that the Maritime Squadron was able to participate in naval exercises with other European fleets.

From 1997 until 2004, when she was decommissioned, the P29 patrolled the coastal waters of the Maltese Islands, fulfilling her duties with search and rescue operations, fisheries protection duties and exercises.

In September 2005, the 53m long P29 was sold to the Malta Tourism Authority to be scuttled as an attraction for divers. She was cleaned and made environmentally safe and was finally scuttled on the 14th August 2007 off Cirkewwa.

The P29 sits on a sandy bottom at a maximum depth of 37m.


25th March 2020

Rozi

Built by Charles Hill & Sons Ltd (Bristol, England) for Johnston Warren Lines Ltd, of Liverpool and launched in 1958 as “Rossmore”.

In 1969 she was sold to Rea Towing Co. Liverpool and renamed “Rossgarth”. 

In 1972 she was sold to Mifsud Brothers (Malta Ship Towage) Ltd, Malta, retaining her name.  In the same year she sailed from Liverpool for Malta where in 1973 she was registered.

In 1981 she was sold to Tug Malta and renamed Rozi. The Tugboat Rozi operated in the Grand Harbour Valletta.

In September 1992 Rozi was sold to Captain Morgan Cruises and was scuttled off Cirkewwa on the Northwest side of Malta as an attraction for tourists.

The Rozi lies upright on a sandy bottom at a maximum depth of 35m.