Um El Faroud is the best wreck dive in Malta, at least for recreational divers. Um El Faroud was a Libyan oil tanker that was scuttled off the coast of Wied iz-Zurrieq in 1998 as an artificial reef and a scuba diving attraction. The tanker wreck sits upright on a sandy bottom at the depths of 15 m (funnel) to 36 m (propeller). The overall length of Um El Faroud is 110 m with a beam of about 16 m. The wreck broke in two parts during a heavy storm in winter 2005-2006.
Um El Faroud wreck lies parallel to the West Reef, her stern closest to the valley and starboard side towards the reef. The wreck is located approximately 150 m southwest from the entry/exit point in Wied iz-Zurrieq and is usually dived from the shore. The tanker was prepared for diving before scuttling by removing all doors and windows and cutting entry and exit holes for divers. Um El Faroud offers lots of penetration possibilities for experienced wreck divers.
Um El Faroud wreck history
Um El Faroud was built in 1969 at Smith’s Dock Co. Ltd. in Middlesborough, England. The steel tanker had 3148 gross tons and was 109.5 m long with beam of 15.5 m and height from keel to funnel top about 22 m. Her original name was MV Seafalcon for the first four years while she was working in Norway. In 1973 the oil tanker was renamed as MV Um El Faroud in Libya, first owned by National Oil Corporation and then by General National Maritime Transport Company. She operated between Italy and Libya carrying refined fuel until 1995.
Um El Faroud was at dry docks in Grand Harbour of Malta for maintenance works, when on 3rd February 1995 during the night an explosion occurred. Nine shipyard workers lost their lives in the explosion, and the tanker suffered structural deformation. Following an inspection and survey, Um El Faroud was considered damaged beyond repair. After three years at the dock in Valletta, it was it was decided to scuttle her as a diving attraction and an artificial reef.
Um El Faroud tanker was scuttled on Wednesday 2nd September 1998 in Wied iz-Zurrieq (watch video). To commemorate the Maltese dockyard workers who died in the explosion a memorial brass plate with their names was placed on the wreck.
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