HMS Stubborn Wreck – Location and General Information
The wreck of the Royal Navy submarine HMS Stubborn lies about 4 miles North of St. Paul’s Bay and is a 25 minute boat ride East of Mġarr harbour. This wreck lies in open sea at a depth of 57 metres and is therefore reserved for suitably qualified and experienced divers. The HMS Stubborn (P 238) was a 66m S-class submarine that was built by Cammell Laird and was launched on the 11th November 1942. She was scuttled by the Royal Navy on the 30th April 1946 to be used for ASDIC sonar practice, and lies up-right and intact on a sandy bottom.
The Stubborn is famous for an incident that happened near Norway in 1944 when she was bombed and severely damaged by the German Navy. Her hydroplanes were jammed in ‘hard-adive’ position and one of her propellers was damaged. She dived to 500 feet which was 200 feet deeper than what she was designed for. Captain Duff eventually brought her to the surface and started limping home. She was eventually towed into the harbour for repair.
Due to its depth, in recent years the HMS Stubborn has become increasingly popular with technical divers using rebreathers or normoxic Trimix. This wreck lies in open sea, exposed to all weathers and could only be dived on relatively calm days.
HMS Stubborn Wreck – Access
This dive site is accessible by boat, a 25 minute ride on Divemania from Gozo’s Mġarr harbour. The boat does not anchor but a shot line is dropped for divers to ascend and descend on. Decompression and safety stop time has to be done on the shot line in mid water.
HMS Stubborn Wreck – Dive
Divers descend on the shot line and often start seeing the wreck when they get beyond 35 metres. It is a wonderful sight as the Stubborn arises from the deep navy blue Mediterranean Sea, covered in brightly coloured sponges with shoals of Damselfish above and around the conning tower.
Divers then start circling the wreck. The highlights of the Stubborn are the conning tower, the torpedo tubes midway between the tower and the bow, and the propellers and rudder at the stern. Dentex can sometimes be seen hunting in the depths around the wreck.
Due to its depth and no-reference descent, this dive is limited to very experienced divers. The decompression stops and safety stops on the way up have to be done on the shot line.