Cyprus sinks cargo ship to make artificial reef

Cyprus began creating the area's first artificial reef on Saturday, sinking a 63-metre cargo ship that had been destined for scrap.

CYPRUS (REUTERS) - A 63-metre cargo ship has been sunk off the coast of Cyprus in an attempt to make the area's first artificial reef.

With coral reefs under threat from climate change, it is hoped that this project will allow marine life to flourish while attracting divers from abroad, says Cyprus Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Costas Kadis.

"We are talking about a typical sustainable development project that contributes to the enrichment and the protection of the marine biodiversity and at the same time, at the enrichment of the touristic product and the economic activity of the area in a sustainable way," said Kadis.

The commercial vessel, named Elpida, had been destined for scrap but instead it will lie 30 metres below the surface off the port city of Lanarca.

Another smaller vessel will join it there in the coming days.