The Um El Farouk was scuttled off the coast of Wied iz-Zurrieq on 2nd September 1998 as an artificial reef and a diving site. The ship was held in position by means of a small MDD tug. Eight purposely fitted 100mm sea valves were fitted to allow the ship to fill with water taking nearly four hours to fill. A large crowd attended this unusual event. A memorial brass plate stands affixed as a memory for those who died.
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It stands upright on the sandy seabed located 140 meters from the shore lying at a maximum depth of 34 meters, average depth of the surrounds 25 meters. Visibility is around 18 meters.
The ship is 109.53 meters long, beam 15.5 meters, height of the vessel is approximate 22 meters from keel to funnel top. It weighs 10,000 tonnes single screw motor which was owned by the General National Maritime Transport Company of Tripoli. It was built in 1969 at Smith Dock Co. Ltd shipyard, Middlesborough, UK.
It had been lying for three years at the Malta Dockyards dock no 3 after an explosion which occurred in the central tank no 3 while being repaired and took the lives of nine Maltese workers. With the explosion it suffered structural deformation and was declared a write-off.
Over the years this artificial wreck has become a paradise for fish. Barely eight months under the sea the fauna and flora was spreading all over the ship. Various fish species live around the ship with shoals of barracuda and squids. Many large schools of sea bream, parrot fish, cuttle fish and others which leaves you with more desire to explore it for yourself. The deck is covered with numerous uncountable bogues.
The wreck is completely open giving the advantage for divers to roam around offering various passages. The bridge, cabins and various hatches on the hull.and for those who are more experienced divers and keep to explore further there is the stairs leading to the engine room from behind the chimney. The holds of the ship are open for exploration due to the explosion it endured this gives good access to explore the holds.
The wreck is ideal for those who like wreck ship diving and ideal to explore the site in the early morning. In fact it is a very popular and many divers come back to this site to continue exploring it due to the size of the ship. The artificial surrounding that have developed over these years.
Access to the wreck is by boat and it takes more than one dive to fully discover the wreck.
Dedicating a holiday in Malta just for diving to appreciated the variety of marine life of the Um El Farouk and other wrecks around the Maltese islands.