On 12th February 1941 at 0200, while anchored at Malta, MAORI was attacked from the air and a bomb found its way into her Engine and Gear Room. The Tribal blew up and sank, still moored at the emergency destroyer buoy at the entrance to Dockyard Creek. Crews from other ships helped in the rescue work as blazing oil spread across the water. Since off-duty personnel customarily slept ashore in shelters while in Malta, only one man was killed in the attack. At daybreak, MAORI'S forepart still showed above the water and the wreck seriously interfered with shipping movements but it was decided to leave her there for the time being. Her 'A' and 'B' guns were still in good order so it was suggested that those guns be mounted on the Ricassoli Breakwater for the Army's use.
Bombs still fell on MAORI during succeeding air attacks. By the end of 1942, the Admiralty decided that her wreck should be lifted, moved out of Grand Harbour and set down off Sliema. On the 5th July 1945, MAORI'S hulk was scuttled finally in deep water far away from the harbour.