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Mexico sinks navy vessel as part of plans for scuba marine park on Baja California coast

An old Navy patrol boat off the coast of Rosarito Beach in Baja California, Mexico, has been deliberately sunk as part of the first steps in creating an underwater park for divers to explore.

Designed to attract tourists to the Rosarito area during off-peak seasons when scuba conditions are at their best, the artificial reef is expected to generate US$3m (€2.8m, £2m) annually in revenue for the local area through spending at hotels, restaurants and other businesses.

The 220ft (67m) sunken Uribe 121 boat sits 90ft (27.4m) below the surface in an area made up of mud and sand. The specific site was selected following a study at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education in Ensenada, with a research team looking at multiple factors factors including the area’s current systems and waves.

In addition to the sunken vessel, the Rosarito Marine Park will also feature an underwater sculpture garden in shallow waters, as well as three more sunken ships further out. The deeper waters will also be home to several pyramids and an area paying tribute to the Titanic.

The US$600,000 (€567,000, £400,000) project has had the backing Mexican officials, gaining support on a federal, state and municipal level. The Baja California Divers group were the originators of the project, which has been dubbed “the hispanic Atlantis”.

“This is a project with great potential – cultural, social, and economic,” said governor Francisco Vega de Lamadrid, speaking during a land ceremony in Puerto Nuevo. We want tourism sites of high cultural and economic value, to benefit our residents, and the hope is that in its first year, the project will draw close to 40,000 divers.”

Seen as a local stimulus, the sinking has already started to generate projects, with the nearby Puerto Nuevo Hotel preparing to cater to scuba divers, with a dive shop and an area where they can clean and dry equipment. The same hotel is also planning a 100-slip marina, where dive boats will be able to take divers to and from the marine park.

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An old Navy patrol boat off the coast of Rosarito Beach in Baja California, Mexico, has been deliberately sunk as part of the first steps in creating an underwater park for divers to explore. Designed to attract tourists to the Rosarito area during off-peak seasons when scuba conditions are at their best, the artificial reef is expected to generate US$3m (€2.8m, £2m) annually in revenue for the local area through
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The 220ft (67m) sunken Uribe 121 boat sits 90ft (27.4m) below the surface
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