MV Karwela

Wreck Dive, Xatt l-Ahmar, Gozo

The MV Karwela was built in West Germany in 1957. She was registered in West Germany as a passenger ferry with the name "M/S Frisia II". Her regular route was to Norddeich, which she served for 20 years as a passenger ferry, carrying 863 passengers. She was sold in 1977  and underwent remodelling.

She was then renamed the "Nordpaloma" and relaunched in 1978. She was sold in 1981 to a company that went bankrupt 5 years later.

She arrived in Malta to undergo repairs and 5 months later she was relaunched as the MV Karwela and was used as a popular tourist ferry by Captain Morgan Cruises around the Grand Harbour in Valletta.

She was scuttled in August 2006 together with MV Cominoland as an artificial reef for scuba divers. The third wreck MV Xlendi was scuttled already in 1999.

The MV Karwela wreck is about 50 m long and is sitting perfectly upright on a sandy bottom with a maximum depth of around 40 m. Her bow lies at 39 m deep, whereas her stern rests at 41 m.

The top deck with the captain's cabin starts at a depth of 30 m. The wreck is safe to penetrate because of the various openings made before scuttling, and there is plenty to explore on its three decks.

Large holes were cut all along the sides on the first two decks, and there is a photogenic staircase in the middle of the wreck leading to the lower deck, which is lit by portholes. There is a small amount of silt and sand inside.

All the wrecks are usually dived from the shore but can be done by boat as well. Karwela is probably the most dived wreck around Gozo, as she is more interesting than upturned Xlendi and closer to shore and larger than Cominoland.

The Stairs

The stairs of the Karwela are a beautiful part of the wreck and are very photogenic. Many divers enjoy this part of the wreck during penetration dives and you can find photos of these famous staircases all around the world by famous underwater photographers

Experience Needed

You must be certified to dive to a depth of 40 meters to dive this site. If you wish to penetrate the wreck you will be required to have a Wreck Diver certification. We would also recommend Nitrox Diver.


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