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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 November, 2003, 15:46 GMT
Reef vessel arrives in city
Map of Whitsand Bay
The plan could turn Plymouth into a global centre of diving expertise
The Navy warship which is to be sunk to create an artificial reef has returned to Plymouth.

Plymouth's National Marine Aquarium (NMA) bought HMS Scylla last month with funding from the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA).

The plan is to sink the 2,500-tonne frigate off Whitsand Bay in Cornwall for divers to explore, in addition to it being colonised by sealife.

The NMA bought the Leander Class Frigate last month for about 200,000 and she is returning to Plymouth to be converted for her new use.

HMS Scylla
HMS Scylla
A Leander Class Frigate with a general and anti-submarine role
Built in the late 1960s
Weighs 2,500-tonnes
113 metres in length
The ship was recommended for disposal in 1991
It was decommissioned in December 1993
Similar vessels have been placed on the seabed in Canada, Australia and New Zealand

It is hoped that work at Devonport Dockyard will begin later this month and the vessel could be sunk as early as next spring.

When the ship is placed on the seabed off Whitsand Bay she will become Europe's first artificial reef for divers.

Aquarium staff say they plan to use cutting edge technology to enable people on dry land to watch the ecosystem develop.

The vessel was taken out of active service in 1993 and has been used as a training facility in Portsmouth Harbour since then.

It was built in the late 1960s and was the last warship built in Devonport.

Vessel to be sunk for reef
14 Oct 03  |  Devon
Study into artificial reef plan
07 Feb 03  |  England
Reef group bids for warship
01 Oct 02  |  England
Lottery body backs warship reef
27 Sep 02  |  England

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