The Um El Faroud is one of the most famous wrecks in the Mediterranean.
The Um El Faroud wreck was already teeming with a wide variety of fauna and flora shortly after its scuttling. Fish species include shoals of barracuda and squid, while the deck is swarming with thousands and thousands of bogues. Damsel fish are literally form living waterfalls down the wreck sides. Plant life is also on a steady increase and sponges are covering most of the wreck.
For divers keen on wreck penetration, the Um El Faroud offers many passages with relatively easy exits. Such passages include the bridge hatches, cabins and galleys, hatches on the hull just below deck. For the more adventurous, take the stairs down to the engine room. Also a shaft goes straight down from behind the chimney right to the engine room. Furthermore a passage leads from the engine room to a frontal compartment. Here you can access the above deck and the bridge front. The bows also feature a frontal compartment which can you can explore.
The Um El Faroud was built in 1969 at Smith Dock Co. Ltd. in Middlesborough England and was owned by the General National Maritime Transport Company, Tripoli (GNMTC). The vessel is a single screw motor tanker and measures 109.53 meters in length, with a beam of 15.50 meters and height from keel to funnel top of approximately 22 meters.
It was operating between Italy and Libya carrying refined fuel up to 1 February 1995 when it took Dock No. 3 at Malta’s dry docks for service. During the night of 3 February, an explosion occurred in the No. 3 center tank and 9 shipyard workers lost their lives. The vessel suffered structural deformation and was considered, following an inspection and survey, a total write off. The damaged hull occupied the dock for three years until it was decided to scuttle the hull as a diving attraction and as an artificial reef.
The diving community chose Wied iz-Zurrieq in the south of Malta as the best site for the vessel’s final resting place. After an environmental impact assessment, the ship left the Grand Harbor on tow and sailed around the east side of Malta. After the ship was anchored on location and kept in position by means of a small tug, Um El Faroud went under after nearly a four hour wait for the ship to fill up with sea water from eight sea valves. Thousands of people witnessed the scene, who occupied vantage points on the shore and undoubtedly paid their last respects to those 9 Maltese workers who died on that tragic night.