Wreck diving at its finest!
The Boltenhagen came out of Peenewerft shipyard, Wolgast in East Germany. The ship builders laid down the foundations on 8th October 1969, she was launched on 22nd May 1970. The commissioning of the ship took place on 19th September the same year. Boltenhagen was given her name after the township, ‘Boltenhagen’ in Rostock. She was the eighteenth ship to be built within the Kondor 1-class.
Boltenhagen was used by the Volksmarine to patrol the river banks between East and West Germany. She was also active as a minesweeping vessel. After the Volksmarine was disbanded, shortly before the reunification of Germany, Boltenhagen was decommissioned. Later she was used as a patrol boat by the German Federal Coast Guards. Operating as a patrol boat for the Coast Guards, she received the pennant number BG31. The same name was retained, but the ship received a make over. Her guns were removed, radar and radio equipment was changed, and the vessel repainted. The BG31 was the last of the Kondor-1 class in Germany, she was decommissioned on 30th June 1996. After being decommissioned, she was sold off to Malta on 24th July 1979.
Sold to Malta:
Malta purchased the decommissioned vessel and gave it the pennant number P29. The Boltenhagen then joined its sister ships, Ueckermünde and Pasewalk, both here in Maltese waters. Both sister ships were purchased back in 1992 and given the Pennant numbers P30 and P31 respectively. The new P29 joined the Maltese Offshore Command of the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta.
Light armament was placed onto the ship, as the Maltese government purchased the P29 unarmed. She was used to protect the Maltese coastal waters from contraband, smugglers and other diverse border control operations. In 2004 she came out of service and was decommissioned. In September 2005 the Maltese Tourism Authority (MTA) bought the decommissioned vessel.
The Wreck P29:
After the MTA purchased the P29, she was cleaned of all contaminates and made safe to scuttle as an artificial reef/wreck for divers. On 14 August 2007 she was laid to rest off the port of Cirkewwa, serving today as a well renowned dive site on Malta. The P29 lies at a depth of 35 m, but the entire dive can be carried out at a depth of 25 m. The shallow sections of the wreck can be found at a depth of only 12 m. The length of the wreck is 51.98 m long, the Beam is 7.12 m. The ships displacement was 361 tons, with a MD 40 diesel engine. Top speed was 20 Knots with a Complement of 20 crew. Her armament was fitted by the AFM, she carries a 1 quad 14.5 mm gun.
The position of the P29 is relatively close to the MV Rozi, who has been sunk now for some years.
Marine life has begun to inhabit the P29, although it will take some time before she becomes fully overgrown with marine flora and fauna.
Photo was taken by Oliver Benndorff at Dive Smart Gozo
The P29 dive site is at Cirkewwa on Malta