To practice diving in a place like Malta is not only to be impressed by what everyone expects to see but to appreciate what cannot be seen and that we know is present, in that boat that hides the voice of 9 men in a story.
Where is the shipwreck Um El Faroud?
In the depths of the Island of Malta is this compulsory diving point for those who wish to live an unforgettable experience in their visit to the Maltese Archipelago which becomes one of the favorite places to dive in the region. It is exactly in the southwest area of the island, more specifically in the town of Zurrieq, famous enclave also due to the presence of the famous Blue Grotto.
Information about the Um El Faroud
The shipwreck Um El Faroud has become one of the best diving experiences in Malta as it shares with all those who visit it a story. Built in 1969 in Middlesbrough, in England by the Smith Dock Company Co. Ltd and owned by the General National Maritime Transport Company of Tripoli, this ship received on any given day for maintenance, it boarded 9 Maltese workers who were in charge of maintaining it. Float and in the security of the docks of the Malta Shipyards nobody imagined that it would be the perfect scenario for the explosion of a tank while operating just in the line between Italy and Libya transporting fuel.
The Um El Faroud suffered extensive damage to its entire structure, damage that would not allow it to sail again and allowed to be declared as a sinister ship in its entirety, after 3 years in 1998 the authorities of Malta decided to use the ship to create an artificial reef that will allow you to contemplate its beauty and live a new experience, where everyone would know its history and those 9 Maltese souls that died during the explosion in 1995 while performing their tasks. On the bridge, their names are engraved on a commemorative plaque.
The Um El Faroud is located a few meters from the coast which allows us to easily access it from the coast, like most of the Maltese archipelago diving spots. The access is made from a platform that is in the valley of Zurrieq jetty also where the boats leave and enter, to make the tour of the famous Blue Grotto, so it requires great care when entering and leaving the water since the valley is quite narrow. To reach the sunken ship means to skirt a wall that oscillates between 5 and 30 meters deep. Bordering it and once out of the valley and already in the open sea you can witness two spectacular caves and the famous monument to divers, a statue of a diving helmet that is at a 30 meters deep, located halfway between the wreck and the reef. A few meters away we are separated to reach the impressive stern and propeller of Um El Faroud, this being the deepest point of the dive located 35 meters deep. The highest part of the ship that are the chimneys are located about 18 meters. We must be aware of the sea conditions because especially at this dive point there are currents that sometimes make it difficult to return to the reef where the exit stairs are located. The boat is more than 110 meters long, which requires at least a couple of dives to enjoy all its parts in detail, although more could be done if its interiors could be accessed. Only the part of the bridge where the engine rooms are located plus cabins and kitchens are made up of 4 floors. An adventure for the most experienced!
To be able to do this immersion, the Advanced course is required, for more information please click here.
Marine species that can be seen diving near Um El Faroud
Arriving to the shipwreck it is a spectacle of nature, not only because of the beauty of the ship but also because of the presence of millions of fish surrounding it, such as the damselfish that run from the inside, scorpions that hide waiting to go unnoticed by their combination of colors next to the boat, larger fish such as mackerels and amberjacks in addition to the groupers and barracudas that use it as a refuge for their attack. These are concentrated mainly in the area of the bridge where it is possible to contemplate them a few meters or even centimeters away. Sometimes it is possible to see triggerfish and some rays in the sandy bottom that surrounds the boat. You can also find big Morey eels in the different holes of the boat.
Best months to go
Having the open invitation to visit this wonderful place at any time of the year, enjoy this show is even better in the months from April to mid-November where you can enjoy the most pleasant temperature of the water and the perfect view for the Um El Faroud. In August it is possible to reach 28 degrees on the surface, although it must be borne in mind that sometimes thermoclines in the bottom can lower the temperature to 20 degrees or less.