MT Haven, formerly Amoco Milford Haven, was a VLCC (very large crude carrier), leased to Troodos Shipping. In 1991, while loaded with 144,000 tonnes (1 million barrels) of crude oil, the ship exploded, caught fire and sank off the coast of Genoa, Italy, killing six Cypriot crew and flooding the Mediterranean with up to 50,000 tonnes of crude oil.It broke in two and sank after burning for three days, and for the next 12 years the Mediterranean coast of Italy and France was polluted, especially around Genoa and southern France. It is the largest shipwreck on the ocean floor….
Our plan was to head to Italy and dive it ….. I had the pleasure of meeting a fantastic Italian diver named Luca Zanzotto while diving in Scapa Flow. He was a real cool guy and turned out that he ran his own dive centre on the coast of Italy near Portofino, Il Grande BLu . We had gotten along very well , and he invited us all out to his centre to dive with him and meet the MT Haven in person 😀 So, as you do , Karon and I headed to Portofino with big wrecks on our mind.
Luca welcomed us with open arms, he is a big handsome friendly fellow with a calming disposition, huge smile and dive skills to rival Jacqes Cousteau 😀 . We were sure to have an amazing time !
His dive centre the Il Grande Blu was amazing !! Built into the side of a coastal wall and equipped with everything a diver could want , from rec scuba to hard core trimix re-breather diving its got it all. And a workshop built into a cliff !! I loved it !!
Soon it was time to dive and with a check dive under our belts we were soon in the boat headed out to sea … The Mohawk Deer at 50m 40-50m was superb and beautiful viz made the first day . The following day was astounding ! Soon a visit to the UJ2216 KT wreck blew my mind !! WOW the diving in Portofino is unreal !! 🙂
After 3 days of progressively harder and deeper wreck diving we set off for the main event the “MT Haven” a long fast Rhib trip along the beautiful Italian coast line away. The journey there was astounding , such a beautiful coast , staggeringly so !! However our eyes were on the prize and soon we were kitting up readying for the Haven.
We dropped over the Rhib , checked and sank headed for an ominous black shape below. At around 35m we hit the funnel and using this as a guide descended to the first deck and beyond until close to 55m. We had to be careful here and to follow our plan, keeping it tight. Karon is a fantastic diver and looked relaxed and in control as we had time to take in the sheer enormity of it all before ascending via the staircase, keep it interesting.
Exploring as we went up , soon we were in the control room and the upper decks.
Our dive plan was to short !! I could have spent all day down there , it was the most amazing wreck I have ever been lucky to have dived. All too soon were heading back up the funnel and buoy lines to begin our decompression.
On our way back we stopped by the Christ of the Abyss sunken statue for a free dive , this was sunk here years ago and is a real eye opener ! I shook his hand quickly to say hello
What can I say about Portofino !! not enough 🙂 its a beautiful place with world class diving. Il Grande blu will be a regular on my yearly calendar and I hope to bring my daughter along to learn to dive here …. for the rest I will let my photos do the talking.