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Asia Dive News : Artificial reef project research underway in Pattaya

Underwater sites have now been surveyed to find the most suitable locations for sinking 60 disused railway carriages that will act as a reef and encourage the growth of marine life.

Known as Pattaya Ban Pla, the “House of Fish”, the project is part of the celebrations surrounding the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King's ascension to the throne, and has been organized by three agencies, namely Pattaya City Council, the Royal Navy and the Railway Authority of Thailand.

At a recent meeting in at city hall, Captain Surapong Ayasanond, deputy director general of the Naval Civil Affairs Department described the progress on the survey for the underwater park.

People at the meeting discussed the locations where the 60 railway carriages could be sunk. Councilor Sanit Bunmachai proposed they be placed at two locations, 40 to be sunk off the south of Koh Khrok and 20 off Koh Phai, near to the point where railway carriages were sunk in 2002. This would give divers more choice in location. All the attendees agreed with the idea except that the areas in question would need to be checked first to see whether the area was suitable and in line with Department of Fisheries standards.

Kornwit Jantkosol, a Department of Fisheries academic and a member of the Naval Civil Affairs Department intently watch the satellite GPS equipment as frogmen below survey the location.

Pattaya City Council members led divers from the Department of Mineral Resources and Royal Navy frogmen to survey the areas, results of which proved that the areas 1.82 nautical miles from the coast and 16.2 - 25 meters deep are suitable for sinking the railway carriages.

Kornwit Jantkosol, a Department of Fisheries academic said the committee hopes that the project would increase sea life in the areas and become Pattaya's latest tourist attraction. The areas selected are suitable but additional meetings will be needed to reap the greatest benefit from the project for tourists.

Source: Pattaya Mail