This is what is left of HMS Erin, a 394-ton anti-submarine trawler, which was sabotaged in February 1942, whilst tied up inside the South Mole. It was later broken up and dumped in its present positions, in order to clear the mooring.
The site has been registered under the Nautical Archaeology Society’s ‘Adopt a Wreck’ scheme and we have spent over two years surveying and researching the vessel. Full details of this work are given in the Chapter ‘The Inner and Outer’ – a Detective story’.
The ‘Outer’ lies some 40 metres away, on a gently shelving sandy seabed, in 28 metres. This is a distorted stern section, leaning to starboard. At the front, the large steam engine has been twisted on its end and behind this are the remains of cabins, with the base of the small galley superstructure above. Metal cables cover the wreck and there are many sharp pieces of metal. The three bladed propeller was removed from the wreck in 1985. Again, fish life is profuse and in some of the small holes, lobsters and eels may be seen.
Diving the Wreck
It may be dived by boat, or via a high entry off the Detached Mole, swimming back inside the Mole to exit. This is useful when the sea is choppy. You can dive either site, or both together. From the bow of the ‘Inner’, follow a compass bearing of 210 degrees. Two thirds of the way along, you should pass a very large anchor – keep this just on your right and you should soon pick up the Outer. Sometimes a line is tied between the two sections.
The ‘Inner’ often has fishing lines caught on it and the ‘Outer’ sometimes snags nets, so watch out for these. Both sections may be entered, but room is limited. A small torch is useful if you penetrate.
The area occasionally suffers strong currents, so use a shot, particularly for the Outer. Carry a delayed SMB and be aware that you are quite close to the busy harbour entrance. You may wish to work your way up to the slope towards the end of the dive. This has lots of life and interesting rubble on it and rises up to only 6 metres, so is the ideal place to continue your dive, whilst doing any stops.
Both sections are enjoyable dives and offer a lot to those interested in wrecks, photography or marine life.
Extract courtesy of D. Fa. & P. Smith: Underwater Gibraltar - A Guide to the Rocks Submerged Sites.