Scuba diving in Imperial Eagle Wreck and Statue of Christ
Imperial Eagle, known earlier as New Royal Lady, is lying off the East coast of Malta. This 45m/148ft long, 9m/26ft wide wreck used to have accommodations for 70 passengers and room for 10 cars. The ship was first launched in 1938 and soon, during WW2, was requisitioned by the Royal Navy in 1940 for transport duties. From 1958 to 1968 it used to be a ferry boat crossing from Malta to Gozo and from 1968 the boat served to transport cargo and animals between Valletta and Gozo. In 1999 the ship was decommissioned and scuttled upright in 40m/131ft of water, half a kilometer off Qawra Point. There is a possibility for penetration. Divers may choose to explore the wheelhouse as well as swim under the propellers which are still clear.
When to go
The average water temperature in January stays around 15C/59F and around 26C/78F in August. The average air temperature is 16C/60F in January and 32C/89F in August. The best period for scuba diving is considered to be from May to November.
What to see
It is an interesting dive, where divers can see many octopuses, groupers, eels, rockfish, triggerfish, tuna and barracudas, and the bottom is rich with red algae. At a depth of about 28m/92ft and 50m/164ft off the wreck's bow, the statue of Christ, encrusted with sea plants and algae, can be found. This statue was blessed by Pope John Paul II and sunk near St Paul’s Islands in 1990, and ten years later, the 3m/10ft high statue was moved to its current location.
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