With regards to recreational diving, the Um El Faroud is the most popular dive in Malta. She was a Libyan Oil Tanker that has long since been scuttled in Wied iz-Zurrieq in they year 1998. It now serves it’s purpose as an artificial reef and one of Europe’s best scuba diving attractions.
The tanker wreck sits on a sandy bottom in an upright position at closest 15m to the surface, and deepest at 36m where the propeller lies. It’s structural dimensions are of 110m in length and has a beam of around 16m. During a heavy storm in the Winter between 2005 and 2006, the wreck had broken into two parts.
The Um El Faround’s location is of approximately 150m southwest from the nearest exit/entry point in Wied iz-Zurrieq. The wreck is usually dived from the shore during most weather conditions. The wreck itself lies alongside the West Reef, it’s stern closest to the valley and starboard side towards the reef. Before being scuttled, the Um El Faround was cleaned out for diver safety from doors and windows, and holes were cut into the wreck itself for easy entry and exit for divers. For experienced wreck divers, this wreck is an amazing playground to explore!
Built in 1969 in Middlesborough, England at Smith’s Dock. Co. Ltd – the tanker was originally named MV Seafalcon while she was working in Norway for the first 4 years. In 1973 was then transferred to Libya where she was renamed as the MV Um El Faroud. It changed two owners while in Libya who were – first the National Oil Corporation and then the General National Maratime Transport Company. Operating between Italy and Libya she carried refined fuel up until the year 1995.
While in for maintenance works at the dry docks in the Grand Harbour of Malta, on the 3rd of September an explostion occured during the night. Unfortunately, 9 shipyard workers lost their lives that night when the explosion occured and the Um El Faround suffered hits in it’s structure which deformed the tanker. Consecutively a survey and an inspection had been done on the ship; it was determined that the tanker was no longer oparable and evaluated as damaged beyond repair. It had remained in Valletta for a total of 3 years before being scuttled.
On Wednesday 2nd September 1998, the Um El Faroud was scuttled along with a memorial brass plate with the names of the Maltese shipyard workers who died while on the tanker during the explosion.
Interest – Wreck
Popularity – High
Depth – 20m (avg), 36m (max)
Qualification – Advanced
Shore access – Easy
Location – 35.8188°N 14.4492°E (Nearby)