A Sh53 million multi-purpose tug boat will be intentionally sunk at the Mombasa Marine Park to create an artificial reef. The MPV Fish Eagle, which was built in 1967, has been donated by Comarco Ltd Mombasa.
The ship is currently at the Mombasa habour being cleaned to prepare it for the sinking. It is expected to be ready in the next two weeks, according to Comarco's Firos Thomas.
Thomas said the ship will be more valuable as an artificial reef compared to selling it for scrap metal. Sander den Haring, a consultant master instructor at Buccaneer Diving Kenya and the head of the project, yesterday said the ship will be sunk between Sarova Whitesands Beach Hotel and the Mtwapa channel.
"The ship has now reached the end of its life. It's become too old to repair or maintain," he said. Once it sits on the bottom of the seabed, it is going to provide a home for corals to grow on. It will also provide more substrate and become a home for small fish to hide in.
"On the one hand, we are going to be increasing the fish biomass. There will be more and more fish living in this part of the Mombasa marine park. And we are going to offer corals another chance to grow," Haring said.
This is also meant to enhance the Mombasa Marine Park for recreational scuba divers. It will provide a new dive site and eventually attract more tourists. "Scuba divers like seeing wrecks," he said. Doorways into the cabin, bridge, mass halls will be enlarged so scuba divers can dive into the wreck.
The Kenya Wildlife Services and five Mombasa North Coast diving centres are partners in the project. KWS assistant director in charge of Coast conservation area said they are still working out some logistics about the project.