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Last Updated: Monday, 10 November, 2003, 11:29 GMT
Reef ship clean-up starts
HMS Scylla back in Plymouth
HMS Scylla arrived back in Plymouth, where she was built
Work has begun to clean up a warship which is to be sunk off the South West coast to create a diving reef.

The Leander-class frigate HMS Scylla arrived in Plymouth at the weekend from Portsmouth after months of negotiation.

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

But first the vessel must be stripped and cleaned of any materials or parts which could harm sea life.

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

The Scylla was the last ship of her kind to be built at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth in the late 1960s.

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

She was bought by Plymouth's National Marine Aquarium (NMA) last month for about 200,000 with funding from the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA).

Kelvin Boot, from the aquarium, said they are keen to ensure that it is not just divers who will see the vessel change as it adjusts to its new environment.

He said: "We want our visitors if they are not divers to share in this spectacle as well.

"So what we'll be doing is fitting some hi-tech cameras and beaming that back to us in the aquarium and hopefully getting that out to our website."

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

She is due to be sunk in April 2004, after which it is expected she will help generate 1m a year for the local economy.

Reef vessel arrives in city
08 Nov 03  |  Devon
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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