Heritage Malta, the national agency for cultural heritage, will be managing three new sites in Malta’s seas, taking the total number of underwater sites available to divers to 15.
This was announced during a press conference, where the Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit announced that the new sites consist of two American aircrafts, namely, the B24 Liberator and the Douglas A-1 Skyraider, as well as a Ju88, a German aircraft operated by the Luftwaffe. These three aircraft crashed and sunk within Maltese territorial waters during the 1940s.
“Heritage Malta has been researching and documenting our underwater cultural heritage for the past two years,” emphasised Minister for National Heritage, the Arts, and Local Government José Herrera. “Malta is truly the curator of a concentration of underwater heritage which belongs to all humankind.”
“Over the past three years, Heritage Malta has grown from 30 sites to over 35 sites, while it has a total of 15 underwater sites. Heritage Malta is the main operator and guardian of everything that makes us Maltese. At the same time, it is opening up the concept of accessibility from one which is strictly traditional to using technology and other tools that reach and address every sector and every age including children, whereby next year Heritage Malta, for the first time, is preparing Skolasajf for them,” announced Mario Cutajar, Heritage Malta’s Executive Director.
“Malta is already renowned for the quality of its underwater sites. These three new sites consolidate Malta’s position on the map for international divers,” confirmed Noel Zammit, Heritage Malta’s CEO, “For the second year running, Heritage Malta is sponsoring a dive on one of the new sites for members of local dive clubs that are registered with the agency. We are committed to supporting the local diving community.”
“The identification and opening of these sites are the result of our collaboration with the Armed Forces of Malta, Transport Malta, the University of Malta and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage,” stated Professor Timmy Gambin, “We look forward to further our collaboration which will result in the launching of new sites in 2021.”
Heritage Malta has also launched a photographic competition, focused on two categories: historic wrecks, and the interaction between wildlife and the said wrecks. The winning photographs will be published on the agency’s platforms.