SS Luciston (also known as Luciston Collier) is a World War I historic shipwreck site managed by our unit. Colliers are cargo ships designed to transport coal between ports and refuel coal-burning ships. The SS Luciston was built in 1910 by R. Duncan & Co Ltd, of Glasgow, Scotland. She had an overall length of 98.4m, a beam of 25m and weighted 2,984 tonnes.
By the outbreak of the First World War, approximately 850 vessels were acting as colliers, supply vessels and auxiliaries to the British Admiralty. The demand for coal would remain a constant throughout the conflict, and the number of colliers in service would reflect this. The demand for coal was constantly under threat by German submarines, reflected in the number of colliers sunk, with losses estimated at around 253, and particularly heavy losses recorded in 1917. This is also mirrored in the registered number of collier losses around the Maltese Islands. Royal Navy loss records indicated that 12 colliers were sunk in the central Mediterranean, over half of which were lost in 1917.
Towards the latter part of the First World War, SS Luciston departed the port of Cardiff and made her way to Malta carrying a supply of coal. However, she was torpedoed on her approach to Valletta by a German submarine. The wreckage was first discovered in the late 1990s off the coast of the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, located at a depth of approximately 96m. The collier was surveyed in detail in 2015 and was found to be in a fragmented condition. However, many of the ship’s main features are still visible. This includes the winch, the anchor, the ladder and the gun, which is still in place. Deposits of coal are also scattered around the seabed.
- Maximum Depth in Metres: 94 – 107 meters.