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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 June, 2004, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Divers flock to scuttled warship
Bridge of HMS Scylla
Basking sharks have been spotted in the wreck of the Scylla
Hundreds of divers have visited the wreck of a Royal Navy warship since it was sunk off Cornwall last March.

Diving activity in Whitsand Bay has trebled following the scuttling of HMS Scylla to create Europe's first artificial diving reef.

About 530 dive boats travelled to the site in April and May - more than the total for a six-month period last year.

Experts at Plymouth's National Marine Aquarium say the vessel has already become home to a variety of sea life.

Tourist submarine

This includes pollack, ballan wrasse, cod, bib - which are in the cod family - and basking sharks.

Melanie Cowie, manager of the National Marine Aquarium (NMA) which is leading the Scylla project, said: "Divers need not be deterred by the large volume of people exploring Scylla's intricate decks.

"After all, when she was a fully operational warship, Scylla was home to over 240 service personnel at any one time."

Non-divers will soon be able to visit HMS Scylla when the aquarium launches a six-person research and tourist submarine next month.

Boost economy

The NMA plans to run regular one-hour submarine tours of the wreck for 150 per person.

Scylla, decommissioned in 1993, was bought by the aquarium with 200,000 provided by the South West Regional Development Agency.

The 2,500-tonne Leander Class frigate has settled on the seabed close to the Liberty ship James Eagan Lane, torpedoed on her maiden voyage in 1944.

It has been estimated the new diving facility will generate about 1m a year for the local economy.


SEE ALSO:
Submarine takes trippers to wreck
08 Jun 04  |  Cornwall
Touring the sunken Scylla on land
01 Jun 04  |  Cornwall
Scylla seeing 300 divers per day
14 Apr 04  |  Cornwall
Divers flood in to explore Scylla
02 Apr 04  |  Cornwall
Warship scuttled in Cornish bay
27 Mar 04  |  Cornwall


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