Ark Royal sunk as dive reef plan

Could the UK be about to get an Oriskany-style dive attraction?

Author: Pat
2nd February 2012
 

Decommissioned aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal could be sunk as an artificial dive reef.

That’s if Devon-based diver James Dodrell gets his way. Mr Dodrell heads up a group hoping to put the ship on the seabed off the south coast, near Torbay.

In 2004, Leander class frigate HMS Scylla was sunk in similar fashion off Plymouth. Now a magnet for visiting divers, the Scylla is estimated to bring in several million pounds annually to the local economy.

However, before the Ark Royal could become our own ‘Oriskany’, there are major challenges to overcome – not the least of which is the considerable cost. Mr Dodrell estimates it could cost between 3 and 5 million pounds to sink Ark Royal as a diver-friendly attraction.

The Ministry of Defence put the ship up for sale recently and is said to be considering several different proposals. If the sinking bid fails, Ark Royal could be sold to an overseas bidder, converted to a luxury helipad in London, or even sent to the scrapyard.

A decision on the fate of the ship is expected around June 13th.

 
 
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