Malta’s latest iconic dive site is a 60-metre tanker that has gone from a shipwrecked vessel to the islands’ newest artificial reef, reports Lovin Malta.
Hephaestus ran aground
On 10th February 2018, Hephaestus ran aground off the coast of Qawra, with onlookers marvelling at the massive tanker nestled on the shore, becoming the most photographed place of the year.
But, the country could have faced major repercussions if one group of first responders didn’t react.
Cassar Marine Group rushed on site and its first responders were able to stop any spills from reaching the water.
Diesel oil was pumped out and any greasy residue was thoroughly cleaned, but it took months before the ship was salvaged and moved from the Qawra coast.
Cassar Marine Group under the guidance of ERA and Transport Malta, were able to refloat and tow the ship to a secure berth, but it definitely wasn’t an easy task.
A temporary 50-metre track made from wooden planks and dunnage was built so that they could access the vessel with their own equipment and machinery.
Since the hull had been severely damaged, all openings had to be patched, welded, or rebuilt in order for the vessel to be seaworthy during the tow.
With the help of 150-tonne hydraulic jacks, the vessel was then partially raised and pushed.
After being pushed to one side, the vessel was pulled out by tugboats.
The Heaphestus was successfully re-floated, hauled and docked on Cassar’s 130-meter floating dock on 15th August 2018 for long-term repairs.
But people quickly seemed to miss the massive tanker, which had received a lot of media coverage and visitors.
This led the PDSA, a diver association to reach out and scuttle the vessel and make it a diving attraction.
That became a reality on 29th August 2022 after Hephaestus was hauled to Xatt L-Aħmar in Gozo to start its new journey as a diving marvel.
Did you subscribe to our daily Newsletter?
It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe
Source: Lovin Malta