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Patrol boat to be scuttled

A disused Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat, the P33, will be scuttled outside Marsalforn bay in Gozo later this year.

The vessel will be scuttled at a depth of between 36 and 40 metres outside the Billingshurst Cave, by Reqqa Point, to the west of Marsalforn.

Brian Azzopardi, from the Professional Diving School Association, said there were a number of reasons why the association and the Gozo diving community opted for the site. Primarily, this is the first wreck on the island’s north coast. Gozo already has three wrecks on the south coast, which are inaccessible when the wind is blowing from the south and the east.

“When a diving tourist is in Gozo with a limited number of days at his disposal, we try to vary his dives as much as possible. In case of adverse weather, this new wreck will be ideal.”

Moreover, the wreck is accessible from the shore without the need of a boat and can easily be reached by all experienced divers. A ladder and railing installed on the site last year also makes it easier for divers to get in and out of the water with their equipment. The wreck is expected to be located 30 to 35 metres from the shore.

Admitting the depth of the wreck was a controversial issue – most recreational divers are licensed for a depth of up to 30 metres – Mr Azzopardi said divers initially wanted a shallow site that would have made the wreck accessible to all divers.

The deeper a wreck is, the better preserved and the one in Comino, which lies at 20 metres, suffered severe damage over the last two winters. This made the authorities opt for a wreck that was only accessible to experienced divers rather than lose it completely after a few years. The P33 is a Bremse-class vessel that is just over 23 metres long, with a beam of 4.7 metres and is approximately seven metres high.

The Malta Tourism Authority is responsible for the scuttling of boats. It has already scuttled two patrol boats, the P29 and the P31, in August 2007 and August 2009. The P29 lies off Ċirkewwa and the P31 is on the seabed near Comino.

Wrecks Around Gozo

MV Xlendi

MV Cominoland

MV Karwela

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