A fantastic wreck dive!
The Pasewalk, now named the P31, was built in East Germany in 1968. The builders shipyard in Peenewerft Wolgast, laid down the Minesweeper on 12th December 1968. The Pasewalk was launched on 18th June 1969 and she was commissioned on 18th October of the same year. The Minesweeper was named after the town Pasewalk in Mecklenburg-West, Pomerania in the northern Germany. She was the eighth ship built within the Kondor l class. The Pasewalk was used between the river banks of East and West Germany as a Patrol Boot. She was used as a minesweeper too, detecting mines left over after the war.
The Pasewalk was decommissioned in 1990, after the Volksmarine was disbanded in East Germany. This type of Kondor l class ship was deemed too outdated and obsolete to join the German Navy. After her decommission, all her armaments were removed.
Sold to Malta:
On the 1st July 1992 the unarmed minesweeper was purchased by the Island of Malta. Not only did Malta purchase the Pasewalk, they also purchased the sister ship Ueckermünde. The Pasewalk was given the pennant number P31 and became a patrol boat within the Offshore Command of the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta. The Ueckermünde received the pennant P30.
Was brought into Maltese service to help protect the Maltese coastline. She was used against smuggling and border control issues. During service, in one notable incident the P31 helped rescue 251 illegal migrants from their 20 m sinking boat, found 44 miles to the South of Malta. This rescue took place in a force 6 wind.The P31 has a length of 51.98 m and displaced 361 tonnes of water. She was equipped with MD 40 diesel engines and had a speed of 20 knots (23mph/37km/h). She had a complement of 20 and carried an armament of 1 quad 14.5 mm gun.
Decommissioned from Service:
In 2004, the P31 was decommissioned and purchased by the Maltese Tourism Authority. In 2009, she was cleaned and made environmentally friendly. On August 25th she was scuttled to a depth of 18 m to serve as an artificial reef and a dive site.
In 1997 Malta purchased a third sister ship by the name of Boltenhagen. She was given the pennant number P29. All the minesweepers were purchased unarmed, later the Armed Forces Malta added some light armament to the ships.
Divesite off Comino:
Now, a very popular dive site, accessible to all levels of certified divers, which is welcomed in the diving community. The P31 offers itself as a great training wreck for beginners, and because of its depth, it is a very enjoyable dive indeed.
Photo was taken by Janet Bulmer at Dive Smart Gozo
Dive site: P31 near Comino