Jordan: Underwater military museum replicates coral reef

Gently lowered, this military helicopter is the first to be added to the museum's collection in the Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan.

Next to be submerged: an M42 Duster tank.

The museum aims to create an artificial home for marine organisms that would normally live among coral reefs.

"The military museum is the first product of its kind in the region, and I think in the world," says Nayeh Bakhit, Chief Commissioner of Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority.

"It is important because the sport of diving in Aqaba is attracting tourists, and many tourists from around the world come here to practice this sport."

He believes the underwater military museum will attract divers from across the world.

The exhibit include various tanks, an ambulance, military crane, a troop carrier, anti-aircraft gun, a fighter and a helicopter.

"This location is relatively poor with marine organisms, and poor with coral reefs and these things attract divers, therefore it was necessary to create a new thing," explains Abdullah Abu-Awali, Head of beaches administration and the marine park, Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority.

"This will reduce the pressure on the natural coral reefs by creating new artificial sites."

To create a unique diving experience, the pieces are placed at different depths.

Eight can be found between 15 to 20 meters (49 to 65 foot) below the sea's surface and a further 11 are at depths ranging from 20 to 28 meters (65 to 91 foot).

And if you are not a strong diver, you can see the museum on board a boat through a glass viewing point.

"It is always good to have new dive sites, " says Florent Horn, Manager of Sindbad Marine Club.

"Coral reef you can find everywhere, but I mean combined with an interesting wreck, of course, you boost the potential of the location."

The Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) has considered the environmental implications when establishing the museum.

A relatively poor area for biodiversity and coral reefs was chosen to ensure the safety and protection of the marine environment.

And the war pieces were also cleaned and emptied of oils, grease and contaminants before submersion.

Diver, Ahmad Njadat, says the site is "unique" and will add a "new flavor" to diving.

The museum was a public and private partnership between Aqaba Economic Zone Authority, Aqaba Ports Company, Aqaba Marine Services and The Royal Jordanian Maritime Force.

The museum will be open at the beginning of 2020 to allow the marine life around it to develop. Until then, only fish will be able to visit.

(Source: AP) 

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