Ships Sunk Off Portimão Coast For Underwater Park

"diving algarve"Two ships formerly used in the Portuguese Navy were sunk yesterday (Tuesday) off the coast of Portimão as part of a new underwater scuba diving park for the Algarve.

The operation to sink the two ships was described as a “success” according to a report by the Portuguese news agency Lusa.

Luís Sá Couto, the promoter of the Ocean Revival project told press that “the ships were positioned as planned and the operation was a success”.

The two ships that were sunk had served for around 40 years in the Portuguese Navy and were sunk around three kilometres off the southwest coast of Portimão.

The cost of creating this new underwater park for scuba divers has been estimated to be about three million euros and it is hoped that it will attract divers from all around the world to come and explore this specially made area.

Each of the boats was sunk using controlled explosions to create holes in the hulls of the vessels which then led to them both sinking within two and a half minutes.

Divers were then sent to then assess the stability of the vessels and the positions of the ships on the sea bed and at this point the operation was deemed to have been an overwhelming success.

The entire operation was overseen by the Portuguese Navy with a security perimeter being created around the area to maintain levels of safety for anyone who came out to sea to watch the sinking of the ships.

Rear Admiral Nunes Teixeira said: “This is an important initiative because it keeps this part of the Portuguese Naval history alive.

“These ships mark an era that can be enjoyed as one of an unprecedented initiative in Portugal.”

The decommissioned ships were removed of any materials that could contaminated the water including all oil and asbestos to prevent any harm on the natural environment off the Algarve coast.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be in the region of three million euros with all of the money coming from private investors however the management behind the project hope that other people may come forward to donate money to the underwater park project to ensure that the other two ships that are planned to be sunk in March 2013 go ahead.

It is hoped that the underwater park will be a massive boost to diving tourism in the Algarve as well as being a boost for tourism in general in the region as divers from across the world come to the Algarve to experience this unique underwater diving environment.