HMS Southwold

The HMS Southwold: A Historic Wreck for Divers in Malta

The HMS Southwold is a must-see wreck for technical divers visiting Malta. Considered one of the island’s most popular technical wreck dives, the HMS Southwold attracts divers from around the world. The vessel lies in two sections on the seabed – the larger bow section rests at a depth of 67 meters, and the 30-meter stern piece sits upright at 74 meters. The dive requires a minimum Trimix certification for the bow section and an Advanced Trimix certification for the stern. This is a challenging dive that should only be attempted by experienced tec divers in Malta.

Wreck History

Built by White and launched in 1941, the HMS Southwold was an 86-meter Hunt Class destroyer, with a net tonnage of 1050 tons. It was part of the convoy escort during World War II. The vessel saw combat during the Second Battle of Sirte while serving as an escort in 1942. During one operation, the ship was hit by a mine, and it sank in two pieces. The midship portion gradually sank lower and eventually split, causing the vessel to fall into the sea. Today, the HMS Southwold lies in two pieces on the bottom of the Mediterranean sea.

What to Expect on the HMS Southwold

The bow section lies on its starboard side with a completely sunken stern that is closest to Zonqor Point.  The deepest part of the wreck lies at 74 meters on the seabed, with the bow area starting at 67 meters. The visibility of this dive site is affected by the weather and is generally best during the summer months.
The dive itself is a mixture of exploring the wreckage and observing the marine life that now inhabits it. Schools of fish can often be seen swimming around the wreck, and divers may come across a resident octopus or two hiding among the debris. Exploring the wreckage, you may encounter the front torpedo tubes, gun emplacements, and the head and tail of the scorpion fish.

Safety and Certification

As mentioned above, this dive is recommended for experienced tec divers with proper certification. The depths and the challenging conditions mean that only qualified divers should attempt the dive. Before diving, make sure you have all the necessary equipment and that your tanks are filled with the appropriate blend of gas. Always dive within your limits and make sure you follow the guidelines set by your dive leader.


The HMS Southwold is a piece of history that rests on the seabed in an accessible location for technical divers in Malta. It offers an exciting and challenging experience for tec divers while providing a look into the past. Personnel expertise is required to know the conditions underwater as well as the equipment required for a diving expedition. By going on this dive, you will not only encounter new marine life, but you will also delve into a significant moment in history.
HMS Southwold with Dive Systems Malta