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Plane sunk to enrich marine habitat in Aqaba

Underwater ‘tactical formation’ of military relics to safeguard coral reef

By JT - Aug 26,2019 - Last updated at Aug 26,2019

A TriStar aircraft, which has been out of service and parked at King Hussein International Airport for several years, joins Aqaba’s Underwater Military Museum (Photo courtesy of ASEZA Facebook page)

AMMAN — The Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) on Monday sunk a disused commercial TriStar aircraft to Aqaba’s Underwater Military Museum Dive Site with the aim of boosting marine life.

HRH Crown Prince Hussein attended the ceremony, after participating in a tactical military exercise at the military training field, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The underwater museum had been opened for divers and snorkellers to explore military machines stationed along coral reefs imitating a tactical formation.

Comprising some 30 military relics, the formation consists of tanks, an ambulance, a military crane, a troop carrier, an anti-aircraft gun and two helicopters among others. 

Nayef Bakhit, chief commissioner of the ASEZA, said that submerging the plane is intended to promote the recovery of natural reefs as it relieves pressure on them by drawing visitors away to an alternative site, noting that the TriStar’s position is accessible to snorkellers and swimmers.  

He also said that this underwater museum promotes scuba diving in the coastal city, adding that developing the museum would increase tourists’ duration of stay.

Drawing attention to the ASEZA’s tourism development programmes, Bakhit said that the number of scuba divers increased from 6000 in 2017, to 22,000 divers in 2018, highlighting that they spend an average of $1,400 on a week-long trip. 

Aqaba’s Underwater Military Museum Dive Site is a product of the partnership between the public and private sectors as the ASEZA was responsible for the planning, preparation and sinking of equipment, while the Aqaba Port provided the mobile docks used in the process and the required human resources.

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