Diving in Malta – The Um El Faroud Shipwreck

PADI Wreck Diver Course

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The Um El Faroud was a Libyan-owned 10,000-ton single screw motor tanker. Following a gas explosion during maintenance work in 1995, the vessel was deemed unfit for purpose and consequently scuttled off the south coast of Malta as an artificial reef and diving attraction.

  • Suitable for: Advanced Open Water Divers +
  • Depth: 15 – 37 metres
  • Points of interest: Shipwreck & Marine Life
  • Entry/Exit: Easy

History

The Um El Faroud was built in 1969 at Smith Dock Co. Ltd, Middlesbrough in the United Kingdom.

The Vessel operated between Italy and Libya as a transporter for refined fuel.

In 1995, the Um El Faroud was docked at No.3 Dock of Malta Dry Docks when an explosion occurred during works. The explosion tragically killed 9 shipyard workers.

The explosion caused structural deformation which meant the vessel could not operate in its intended capacity again. After occupying a dock in Valletta harbour for three years, the Um El Faroud was towed to its current location and scuttled as an artificial reef.

The Dive

The Um El Faroud sits upright on the sandy bottom, southwest of Wied il-Qrendi. The ship’s length is 115m and the beam is 15.5m, which is a large shipwreck by anyone’s standards! The size of the wreck quickly becomes apparent as you make your approach down to the exhaust funnel which marks the top of the shipwreck at 15 metres. As you descend onto the main deck the depth is approx. 25 metres and the average depth in the sand surrounding the wreck is approx. 34 metres with the deepest point at 37m at the propeller. The wreck is broken into 2 pieces. The break, found in the mid-section, occurred during a storm in 2005/6 and has made for extremely interesting viewing.

Surrounding the shipwreck are many fish, including Barracuda and Jacks. On the wreck you can find Flabellina nudibranchs, Moray Eels and several other invertebrates.

Given the tremendous size of the Um El Faroud, with the necessary wreck diver training and equipment, wreck penetration is possible. In the rear portion, there is access to the engine room and several of the smaller surrounding rooms. The mid and forward storage sections of the ship are also accessible.

This guided dive is a must when visiting Malta!

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