Navigation: Off Xatt L’Ahmar
Access: Primarily a boat dive but can be reached from Shore if using a scooter or if prepared for a long swim
Depth: 46 metres (bottom), shallowest area about 39m (bow)
Moderate to Good.
Sea Bed: Sand
Interests: Wreck Dive
BSAC Sports Diver with Advanced Decompression Procedures qualification or equivalent. Mandatory decompression will kick in quickly.
If diving from a boat, boat can anchor on top of the wreck and a shot line deployed. Watch your bottom time because of the depth as decompression time is easily accumulated.
From shore, one should enter the water closer towards west from the Xatt l-Ahmar Bay than from the three wrecks entry, stay shallow following the reef wall on your left hand than head down slightly and south from the turning in the reef wall for 30/40m until bow of wreck is visible. It is advisable that one does this dive from shore using minimum of twinset + deco gas, ideally with CCR and Scooter. Current may be present and visibility is not guaranteed.
The M/T Hephaestus originally became a known name around the Maltese Islands after it was famously wrecked at il-Ponta tal-Qawra, off St. Paul’s Bay, on the 10th of February 2018 (just under the Malta National Aquarium). The wreck was patched up and dislodged from the shore and re-floated on the 15th August 2018, following which it was towed to the Grand Harbour. Immediately, news reports in 2018 had already indicated that it was likely that the ship might be considered for scuttling as an artificial reef and diving attraction since the damages sustained when it was wrecked for the first time made it unfeasible to be repaired.
After a four and a half year wait, the M/T Hephaestus, a 61m long tanker was “wrecked” for a second time, this time permanently as an artificial reef, at Xatt l-Aħmar in Għajnsielem, Gozo, on the 29th of August 2022.
Coordinates of the Hephaestus: 36 01 015 N, 14 17 371 E
Additional information about the wreck may be obtained from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MT_Hephaestus