One of the popular Maltese wreck dives near the northern harbour of Ċirkewwa has become a haven for stone bass and chevron barracudas.
This guide contains useful information about a former minesweeper scuttled intentionally to create an artificial reef for marine life and for recreational divers.
This Kondor class minesweeper (aka Boltenhagen) was a small warship built to remove and detonate naval mines.
Here's the thing:
Malta bought the unarmed vessel in July 1997, renamed it to pennant number P29, and started using it as a coastal patrol boat.
Plus, the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) added some light armament until they decommissioned it in 2004.
The Malta Tourism Authority bought the vessel in September 2005 and had it made environmentally safe before scuttling it in August 2007.
The site chosen for the man made coral reefs was close to the harbour and ferry terminal at the northernmost part of the Maltese shoreline.
It's fair to say that most of the best diving sites in Malta are wreck dives. Even so, this particular sinking is one of the most recent.
The P29 minesweeper patrol boat came to rest around 150 metres from the shore at Cirkewwa. It's sitting upright on the sandy seabed at a maximum depth around thirty five (35) metres (115 feet). The superstructure measures about fifty two (52) metres long.
Put another way:
Pro Tip: In the past, the Amazing Beautiful World listed the P29 patrol boat wreck among the "10 Most Incredible Sunken Ships on Earth".
There are many reasons why creating artificial reefs is important, not least for scuba divers to enjoy. Even so, this location offers a unique habitat for an abundance of marine species to settle, including:
Pro Tip: Our Sea Life creatures and animals guide contains a comprehensive list of vertebrates and invertebrates, including fun and interesting facts, pictures, and videos.
Note: The short video [1:43 seconds] presented by "Diving in Malta" contains footage of P29 stern and a mock-up machine gun.