History and Layout
This Royal Navy cable-laying barge was deliberately sunk as part of the artificial reef project off Camp Bay in August 1990.
It sits upright on a flat sandy seabed in 17m of water with the bow pointing north. It is 30m long, 7m wide and stands 7m proud at its highest point. The large funnel was cut off and lies against the starboard side. It has a squarish bow, behind which is a large open hold. From here it is possible to go forward past the caged paint store (which still contains tins of paint!) to two front cabins and back around to the port side. The sides of the hold contain racking space.
To the rear there is a winch and then the main superstructure. Within on the starboard side there is a shower and sink unit and on the port side two toilets. Behind this superstructure you will find the large cable winching drum.
On either side of the superstructure is an entrance hatch to the engine room and the engine room vents, the latter being welded open to enhance visibility. Swim-throughs can be carried out by more experienced divers, and the route through the engine room is roped as a safety precaution in case of low visibility but beware of silt and the narrow exit hatch at the northern end.
The wreck supports a huge variety of fish life, both large and small, and is very intact and stable.
Immediately to the south-east is another simple but large vessel, known as Batty’s Barge. The shore-side hull and part of the deck have fallen away, leaving a large open hold which is now also starting to attract marine life.
Diving the Site
It is a very popular dive site due to the combination of varied and diverse marine life together with a shallow and relatively protected location. The site can be dived either from a boat or the shore, further enhancing its appeal. To locate the barges from shore, swim around the breakwater and head south until you come to some cables. These run out directly to the wrecks. Many divers (particularly as part of a shore dive) will incorporate the 482M and the Batty’s barge into a swim-around of the Camp Bay area together with the Spanish Barges.
Extract courtesy of D. Fa. & P. Smith: Underwater Gibraltar - A Guide to the Rocks Submerged Sites.
Link to Underwater Gibraltar