The Indian Navy is sinking a ship near Puducherry so that you to have an exceptional scuba diving experience!
INS Cuddalore, a modified Natya-class minesweeper, was operational for 30 years and covered 30,000 nautical miles in the time period. The ship was decommissioned in March 2018.
Now, the Indian Navy, along with the Puducherry Government, the National Institute of Ocean Technology, National Centre for Coastal Research (two Chennai based national laboratories) and PondyCan, a NGO which works to preserve and enhance the natural, social, cultural and spiritual environment, are planning to turn the minesweeper into an underwater museum!
The Navy has already agreed to gift the decommissioned minesweeper for the purpose.
This project is the first-of-its-kind in India, and the research and preparations to develop the museum about 7 km from the coast of Puducherry, have already commenced.
Speaking to The Times of India, MV Ramanamurthy, the Director of NCCR said, “We studied the water quality and benthic organisms in a 500m radius to find the impact the ship may have. We also chose the location as the seabed is sandy and water becomes calm beyond a certain depth.”
Water buoys and 19-metre tall masts of the ship will be deployed so that they are visible over the sea surface and tourists will be able to go on boat rides around it.
Some doors of the 60-metre-long and 12-metre-wide vessel will be taken off so scuba divers can swim in and out of it while on guided and unguided tours.
The ship will first be sunk at the decided location, and the authorities hope that algae and barnacles grow onto its surface.
“The Indian Navy will be involved in sinking the ship, as it would also be training for their personnel,” said Probir Banerjee, of PondyCan.
Once the marine plants grow over the surface, it will also facilitate the growth of an eco-system in which various species of fish, turtles and other aquatic species will begin to breed.
Once ready, the museum will allow tourists to follow a trail through the INS Cuddalore and have the experience of a lifetime.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)