The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

P29 vessel wreck among ‘most amazing sunken ships on earth’

Malta Independent Friday, 13 September 2013, 08:40 Last update: about 7 years ago

The P29 – a Maltese patrol vessel which was sunk specifically for the purposes of recreational diving – has been listed on Amazing Beautiful World’s ‘10 Most Incredible Sunken Ships on Earth’.

“A more recent ghostly presence on the seabed, the P29 was scuttled around September of 2007 at Marfa Point in Malta.

“A navy patrol boat, she was 167 feet long. There’s not much to be found about the history of the ship itself but as a dive site the wreck has various points of interest, including narrow passages through which to swim; an abundance of knobs, levers, gauges and other instruments still in place; and a painting of the Tasmanian Devil of Looney Tunes fame!” the site read. The site is not far from another wreck, the tugboat Rosie, which lies round the corner. Both wrecks sit on a sandy bed at about a 35 metre depth.

Other wrecks listed on the site include the Florida-class battleship the USS Utah - launched in 1909 and having served in World War I – and which had a large complement of crew on board when the never-to-be-forgotten attack on Pearl Harbour took place on 7 December.

No access is permitted to the public to visit the half submerged hulk in Pearl Harbour and the memorial erected on nearby Ford Island can only be visited if one is sponsored and accompanied by authorised military personnel.

Another wreck, this time in Ontario, Canada lies 20 feet underwater but is still visible from the surface - the remains of the Sweepstakes - a 119-foot Canadian schooner that was used to transport coal.

Built in 1867, after 18 years of service she was damaged near Cove Island and towed by tugboat to Big Tub Harbour in Fathom Five National Marine Park. The damage occurred in August 1885 but was not repaired quickly enough, so the ship sank in the harbour in September of the same year.

Another wreck of interest is what has been named as the “Russian Wreck”, a sunken ship which is thought by some to have been the Khanka, a Russian spy ship that sank sometime before 1982.

Whether or not it is the carcass of the Khanka, most seem to agree that it was a communications and surveillance ship of some sort.

The Soviets began to use commercial vessels like fishing trawlers for intelligence gathering from the 1950s onwards and apparently established a surveillance facility in Yemen’s nearby Ras Karm Military Airbase in 1971.

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