Wreck treks: HMS Maori

September 7. 2012.
One of the legendary wrecks in the Maltese waters.

It happened seven decades ago. A Tribal-class destroyer was mooring in the Malta Grand Harbour when a German aircraft attacked and sank it. It's not too extraordinary to dive a boat's wreck which sank during the WW II but the HMS Maori was in the fleet which chased and sank the Bismarck in 1941. It was one of the boats which rescued the few survivors. The wreck was in the harbor of Valletta and blocked the traffic of the boats. They raised and scuttled it, later it was sank close to the shore.

From a divers point of view its location is just perfect because the bay is protected, you can dive the Maori from the shore and the maximum depth is only 15 meters. Sadly the visibility is worse than elsewhere around Malta- the harbor is too close so it isn't surprising. After 70 years it isn't easy to identify the once proud 115 meters long destroyer's parts, the wreck's condition is far from perfect. You can see some old guns, larger pieces of the hull, you can penetrate into a small passage. The main attractions are the few remained gun bullets, you can see clearly the '1941' mark on them. Like a message from the past, an underwater monument of the war...

However I need to confess the HMS Maori wreck isn't that spectacular. Some divers don't like it because of the foggy water and they see only a pile of rusting metal, but for me it's a still touchable witness of the history, a boat which was the victim of the Germans' revenge. As it's usual around wrecks, there are plenty of fish so in my opinion the HMS Maori is one of the interesting dive sites of the island. Not as neat as an artificial reef but tells much more about the country's troubled past.

HMS Maori wreck dive
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