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Asia Dive News : China to turn Russian aircraft carrier into artificial reef

A Russian aircraft carrier converted into a theme park in the southern Chinese town of Shenzhen could find its final resting place as an artificial reef in Hong Kong waters, DPA news agency reported on Tuesday.

The agency quoted an article in the China Morning Post daily which said that the plan to turn the 40,000-tonne 'Minsk' into a marine life haven had been proposed by marine specialist Charlie Frew after the unsuccessful auction of the ship earlier this year.

Frew has suggested towing the 271-metre-long ship 10 km from its current location to the waters off Hong Kong's eastern New Territories and sinking it between two islands near Sai Kung.

'If the ship was sunk in position between the islands, it would lead to a rapid expansion in fish stocks, would encourage the growth of native corals and provide a focal point for the rejuvenation of underwater life for the entire eastern coastline of Hong Kong,' he said.

Frew has asked several government offices, including the marine and environmental protection departments, to help acquire the vessel.

The Minsk, with a complement of 32 aircraft, was launched in 1975 but was retired in 1993 after an accident. The vessel was later sold to the Shenzhen Minsk Aircraft Carrier Industry Co, which created a theme park, Minsk World, around the carrier.

The company recently went out of business, and the carrier was put up for auction with a reserve price of 128 million yuan ($16 million), but failed to attract a single bid.

'Imagine the economic windfall and recreational attraction,' Frew said, touting his plan. 'It would be the largest ship sunk in the Asia-Pacific region. The Minsk could do more good at the bottom of the sea than it ever did afloat.'

Source: Mosnews