For years now, governments and environmental organizations around the world have been sinking large pieces of outdated or damaged equipment into the ocean, turning them into artificial reefs. Subway carriages, naval ships, tanks and more rest on the sea floor, making homes for sea life and attracting divers. Artists have been busy as well, erecting underwater sculptures and memorials.
Accordingly, HEPCA submitted a project proposal to H.E General Ahmed Abdullah, Governor of the Red Sea, to establish new artificial coral reef sites using outdated military equipment such as armored vehicles, soldier carriers, tanks and old cars. H.E General Ahmed Abdullah, Governor of the Red Sea, showed exceptional support and encouragement for this project.
The project aims to reduce the pressure on the natural coral reefs around Hurghada where the number of dives in some dive sites have reached more than 200,000 annually, while the recommended carrying capacity should be from 5000 - 22,000 dives in the single dive spot.
Thus, there is no alternative solution but to create and establish alternative diving sites to mitigate natural coral reefs of high scientific, environmental and economic value, each site can be created will generate millions of dollars annually on the Egyptian national income.
In addition to economic value, the project aims at creating alternative diving sites, knowing that there are only 258 diving sites along the Red Sea coast carrying between 6 to 9 million dives a year, which is not enough to meet the increasing development rates of inbound tourism thus increased the Dive Sites.
Sunken equipment will not only create new dive sites, but can make very effective habitats for Sea Life, providing good structure for corals to grow upon, which leads to a whole diverse ecosystem sprouting up. Artificial Reefs present a great tool for restoring deteriorated species, by providing a fresh substrate or aggregating key fish species.
HEPCA, in collaboration with the Red Sea National Parks Authority, has identified seven sites in front of Hurghada as suitable sites for sinking the equipment. In the first phase, 15 pieces of outdated military equipment will be sunk in three sites as the first stage of this project.
In cooperation with the concerned authorities, HEPCA will invite the Red Sea environmental protectionists and diving and water sports personnel to attend a conference in the very near future to explain the components of the project and to gather views and ideas on the most appropriate sites, methods of sinking as well as a sustainable management of these sites which should finalized by the end of this year.