Ship that survived Pearl Harbour attack to make up dive site in VI
While not spilling all the details as to where exactly the dive site will be located or when it is scheduled to be in operation, the Billionaire informed via https://www.virgin.com under the topic: Sinking a WW ΙΙ Ship to create an underwater art reef, that the territory will be placed on the global map.
World class dive site
The Ship- of a World War II era, Branson explained on March 7, 2017, aims to mobilise a global network of researchers, philanthropists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and artists, helping to solve marine health issues while creating a world-class dive site.
“We are planning to sink the former USS YO-44, a ship that served - and saved lives - in Pearl Harbour during WWII. This historic vessel was primed to be scrapped for metal before Owen Buggy, former marine mechanic, and photographer on Necker Island, identified it and the team dreamed up this project. The ship will form the centerpiece of a unique new dive site called The Maverick BVI Art Reef,” Mr Branson wrote.
According to the New York Times, on December 7, 1941, fuel tanker YO-44 was able to avoid the bombs falling on Pearl Harbour by relocating to nearby Merry Point Landing, making it one of only five ships to survive the attack. The YO-44 was decommissioned after WWII and later became a fishing boat named the Kodiak Queen.
Mr Branson informed that it will include a large-scale art sculpture of an 80-foot Kraken, which will double as a human interest feature for divers and a coral out-planting platform, which he believes will kick-start a thriving reef ecosystem through innovative and effective coral restoration techniques.
Unique dive site
“I’m sure it will be one of a unique dive sites in the world,” he said.
In addition, the project will also help to rehabilitate heavily over-fished marine populations, he continued, with a special focus will be on bringing back vulnerable species of Grouper, such as the Goliath Grouper.
Boost local economy
The Billionaire noted that the local economy will benefit.
“Like us, the BVI Tourist Board is confident this new dive site will boost the local economy by putting the BVI on the world map as a top dive destination. What’s more, the project is supporting cutting-edge scientific research called eDNA (environmental DNA) facilitated by NPO partners Beneath the Waves, as well as swim programmes and providing ocean conservation platforms for inspiring our next generation of ocean stewards.”
The project is a collaboration between Unite BVI, Secret Samurai Productions, Beneath the Waves, Commercial Dive Services and Association of Reef Keepers, along with entrepreneurial adventure group Maverick1000.
The idea Branson explained came from a brainstorming session on one of his privately owned islands-Necker, to create a sustainable idea from the creation of the artificial reef.
“This reef will allow people to experience the wonder of the ocean and its species up close while having the time of their lives. That way, what they learn will stay with them and affect them deeply, and hopefully turn into more action to conserve the ocean. I’m confident the BVI Art Reef will be among the most unique and meaningful dive sites in the world and, in turn, will help to inspire future ocean conservationists in my own backyard,” Mr Branson added.