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HMS Maori Wreck

HMS Maori Wreck, Malta

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HMS Māori Shipwreck, Malta

The HMS Māori was a Tribal-Class British destroyer built by Fairfield in Govan, Scotland and launched in September 1937. She was 115m long and 11m wide with 4 x 21 torpedo tubes and a crew of 190 persons. 

The front section of the destroyer is currently sitting on the sand in St Elmo’s Bay, next to Valletta and offers a fantastic shallow wreck dive that attracts a variety of aquatic life. 

  • Suitable for: Open Water +
  • Depth: 5m – 15m
  • Points of interest: The bridge, original gun placements & anchor windlasses
  • Entry/Exit: Easy when steps are in place / Medium if steps are missing


One of the most well-known campaigns the HMS Maori participated in was the pursuit of Germany’s flagship battleship, the Bismarck. 

On the 26th May 1941, while escorting a convoy to the Middle East, the HMS Maori, along with 2 other destroyers broke off and navigated towards the area where the Bismarck had been reported. They located Bismarck that evening and made numerous torpedo attacks through the night and into the next morning. No hits were documented but they kept the Bismarck gunners from getting any rest, making it easier for the battleships to attack her the next morning. HMS Maori then rescued some of the survivors from Bismarck after the battleship sank.

HMS Maori sinking Malta 1942

During World War II, HMS Māori was involved in many successful campaigns but unfortunately, saw her demise in Valletta’s Grand Harbour on 12th February 1942. A parachute flare dropped by enemy aircraft became trapped in the mast and soon after she received a direct hit by a bomb, causing her to catch fire and sink. 

In 1945, the front section of the wreckage was re-floated and moved to St Elmo’s Bay while the rest of the wreckage was sunk in deep water off the coast of Valletta. 

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The Dive 

Over the years the wreck has been damaged by storms and bad weather. A particularly bad storm in early 2019 saw a significant amount of damage to the wreck. These broken sections now offer a fantastic opportunity for exploring. You can look through the port holes to see shrimp and hermit crabs alongside the inner workings and pipework of the wreck. There are even some of the original gauges in place and visible.  

At the front of the wreck, you will find two large anchor windlasses. Today the most prominent features on the shipwreck are the bridge section that sits proudly on top and the original cog mechanisms for two of the original guns. 


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HMS Maori Wreck

The swim to the wreck is a relaxed 10 min shallow swim, you follow a sloping bottom made up of rocks and boulders that leads you to a sandy bottom. Head along the sand for a few minutes before turning right to see the first parts of the wreck punching vertically out of the sand. 

This site attracts a wide variety of marine life including Rays, Octopus, Lizard fish, Flying Gurnards, Cuttlefish, Triggerfish, Flabellina Nudibranchs and large shoals of Salpa fish, Bream and Wrasse. 

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HMS Maori Wreck, Malta

HMS Maori Wreck

HMS Māori Shipwreck, Malta The HMS Māori was a Tribal-Class British destroyer built by Fairfield in Govan, Scotland and launched

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