Local Shipping – XLENDI

One of the ferries that use to be run by Gozo Channel Line was the 1955 built XLENDI.

Built in 1955 originally a Danish passenger/car/train ferry HELSINGØR as Yard no 321 at Helsingør Skibs. & Msk. in Helsingør, Danmark she was 80 meters long and a beam of 12 meters with 1,123 GRT trading until 1987 of which she was renamed as ROYAL SHEEBA until 1988. Renamed again to BORGSHORN and was bought by Gozo Channel in February 1990 for Lm327, 000 renamed XLENDI of which she was meant to serve as a cargo carrier between Malta and Gozo, augmenting the service provided by the ferry GHAWDEX . She was inaugurated at Mgarr Harbour, Gozo on Tuesday 17th June 1990. (Below image is on the same day for the inauguration).

But the ship ended up ferrying passengers and 65 vehicles. Her shape, however, earned it the ignoble title of the coffin.

XLENDI had its fair share of mishaps. She had sustained considerable damage in 1992 when she ran aground at Comino while crossing from Cirkewwa and Mgarr. None of the 80 passengers was injured and only one of 42 cars was slightly damaged.

Three years later, in 1995, she allided with the quay at Mgarr, sustaining minor damage. (Her hull titles were changed to GOZO CHANNEL CARGO as seen in images).

And during 27th June 1999 a small fire broke out on deck with the Malta Police Fire Brigade in action.

XLENDI was handed over to the Gozo Tourism Association to scuttle as an attraction for divers, after she had stopped operating in 1997. On Friday 12th November 1999 she left Grand Harbour, Malta towed by local tug LIENI to scuttle her off Xatt L-Ahmar, Gozo.

With the Civil Protection Department (CPD) tug SEA SALVOR help by her fire monitors, the ferry XLENDI started to list and finally hit the seabed resting in a position which due to prevailing winds at the time of scuttling pushed the vessel off the selected and the desired position.

Unfortunately in 2006 during a storm she moved and sank onto a steep sand bank at a depth of 45 metres and overturned. The superstructure has since sunk into the sand and a quantity of silt has built up in the hull of which some fatalities of divers happened since.

Photos by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com

Published – Wednesday 25th December 2019