Le Polynesien - Malta
Le Polynesien is definitely the most exiting historical wreck in Malta. The depth is between 55-64 meters, so it is easily available for trimix OC divers as well as CCR Mixed Gas divers.
The upper starboard of the wreck of Le Polynesien is found at 55 meters, where there are two deck canons, one on the bow side and the other on the stern side of the wreck. Le Polynesien is 152 meters in length with a gross tonnage of 6659. It carried 172 passengers in first class, 71 passengers in second class, 109 passengers in third class and 234 ‘rationnaires’. It is still intact, apart the engine room, which has been damaged by the torpedo. The wreck is found on her port site at an angle of 45 degrees. During the dive we can find big groupers and dentex.
The Polynesien was built for “La Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes” at La Ciotat in France, like her sister ships “Australien”, “Armand Behic” and “Ville De La Ciotat”. The ships were quickly recognizable by their length, low profile on the water, and by their double funnels painted black. The ships were painted white between 1895 till 1905. Le Polynesien was launched on the 18th April 1890 by Marie Francois Sadi Carnot, President of the Republic of France.
In 1891, Le Polynesien started operating between France and Australia through the Suez Canal. Then in 1903, her route changed to between France and the Far East, mainly transporting passengers to the French Colonies. In 1914, it operated between Australia and New Caledonia, before being dispatched back to Europe. On the 10 August 1918, Le Polynesien was hit by a torpedo from the U-boat UC22 and 10 people lost their lives.