The discovery of three new wartime wrecks in Maltese waters has been hailed a ‘great news for Malta’s heritage’.
A sunken ship and the wreckage of two aircraft were found during a scientific survey of the seabed off Malta.
Preliminary planning for the Malta to Sicily gas pipeline led to the discovery of the three crumbling wrecks, dating back to the Second World War.
Malta’s energy minister Joe Mizzi told MPs the finds were ‘great news’.
He said: ‘The maritime survey that took place for the pipeline between Malta and Gela in Sicily was very interesting.
‘We saw wrecks underwater that hadn’t been discovered previously. This is great news for Malta’s heritage.’
He said the route of the pipeline would now have to be altered to safeguard the remains of the aircraft and the sunken ship.
Malta has seen a tremendous growth in diving tourism in recent years, according figures from the Malta Tourism Authority.
The waters off the Maltese Islands are home to a number of historic shipwrecks and aircraft, including the Blenheim bomber off the coast of Delimara, the wreck of a Bristol Beaufighter aircraft off St Julian’s Point and HMS Maori near Marsamxett Harbour.
A number of conservation areas have been set up to protect submerged wrecks located in Maltese waters.
At present, there are seven conservation areas, namely:
- The Um el Faroud near Wied Iz-Zurrieq
- MV Cominoland, MV Xlendi and MV Karwela off Ghajnsielem
- Tug St Michael, Tug 10 off Marsascala
- The Imperial Eagle off Qawra Point
- Rożi, P29 off Cirkewwa
- Blenheim Bomber off Delimara
- Bristol Beaufighter off St Julian’s