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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 March, 2004, 12:40 GMT
Scylla is towed to scuttling site
HMS Scylla
Plymouth could become a global centre of diving expertise
Final preparations are under way to turn a former Royal Navy frigate into an artificial diving reef.

HMS Scylla has been towed from Plymouth to Whitsand Bay in Cornwall where it will be scuttled on Saturday.

It is hoped the vessel, which was bought by the National Marine Aquarium, will benefit the economy by attracting divers and marine experts to the area.

Biologists say that once the vessel is on the seabed, it will be colonised by sea creatures.

Gathering crowds

Large crowds are expected to watch the spectacle as the explosives are detonated by 12-year-old Daniel Green, from Ivybridge, Devon, who will be accompanied by environmentalist David Bellamy.

The youngster - who won a BBC Newsround competition to sink the ship - will be reporting on the event for the programme.

It is expected to take only three to four minutes for the Scylla to disappear beneath the waves once a series of controlled explosions have taken place on the boat.

Sinking ship: HMS Scylla facts
HMS Scylla
Last warship from Devonport Dockyard
Built in 1968, commissioned in 1970
Weighs 2,500-tonnes, 113-metres long
Princes Andrew and Edward visited in 1973
The Cruel Sea author Nicholas Monserrat's ashes were cast from it
Decommissioned in 1993 - never went to war

The sinking is dependent on good weather conditions, but it is due to take place between 1330 and 1800 GMT on Saturday.

The Scylla was the last Royal Navy frigate to be built at Devonport Dockyard and was taken out of active service in 1993.

Once she is on the seabed, there are plans to attach web cameras to the 2,500-tonne vessel.

Three on-board web-cameras will beam the sinking live to screens at the Plymouth-based National Marine Aquarium - which bought the vessel with 200,000 funding provided by the South West Regional Development Agency.

The National Marine Aquarium believes it will attract divers and could help to generate as much as 1m annually for the local economy.

The Scylla will settle on the seabed about 500 metres from the Liberty ship James Eagan Lane which was torpedoed on her maiden voyage in 1944.

Among those watching the sinking from a nearby boat will be the Scylla's last Commanding officer, Captain Mike Booth, who said he was "delighted she will be put to such good use".

Former members of the 270 crew will also be there.

The BBC's Jon Kay
"At about 14:15 there'll be three almighty explosions"

Scylla sinking date revealed
01 Mar 04  |  Cornwall
Former crew visit reef warship
30 Nov 03  |  Devon
Reef ship clean-up starts
10 Nov 03  |  Devon
Reef vessel arrives in city
08 Nov 03  |  Devon


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