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Thailand Sinking Warships to Promote Reef Growth

Posted by Vadmin on March 5, 2013

The Royal Thai Navy has sunk a warship in the Gulf of Thailand. Don’t panic, the Kingdom is no under attack from a foreign power; the navy has purposely sunk the decommissioned RTMS Mattapone. After serving the nation faithfully at sea for the past 61 years it will now continue to fulfil a role for King and country by sitting at the bottom of the ocean.

At first glance, many people may question the deliberate sinking of ship on environmental grounds but is appears that rather than causing damage to the natural world, in the right circumstances ships lying on the sea floor can encourage the development of coral reefs. The effect was first noticed in the Red Sea when researchers discovered that coral reefs had formed around a number of different shipwrecks. Further studies have shown that wrecks sometimes mimic the conditions on nearby reefs and that overtime, coral species and other sea life migrates to form an artificial reef on the wreck. It is not a quick process but over time, a fully-fledged healthy ecosystem can form.

{timg title:=”Coral in the waters off Koh Yuak, Koh Chang” thumb:=”images/stories/srv/properties/kohchangmarina/marinepark/kohyauk2small.jpg” img:=”images/stories/srv/properties/kohchangmarina/marinepark/kohyauk2.jpg” gal:=”gallery-content”}

{timg title:=”Coral formation, Koh Mak, Thailand” thumb:=”images/stories/srv/properties/kohchangmarina/marinepark/ko-mak-233844small.jpg” img:=”images/stories/srv/properties/kohchangmarina/marinepark/ko-mak-233844.jpg” gal:=”gallery-content”}

Coral reefs are in decline worldwide as a result of an increase in pollution, destructive fishing practices and damage caused by careless tourism. The quality of many of the reefs across the world has seen a significant decline and Thailand has not been immune. The damage to Thailand’s reefs is costly not just in terms of harming the environment, but also economically. Diving and snorkelling are popular attractions for tourists but no one wants to look at dead coral.


The sinking of the Mattapone is one of the steps the Thai authorities are taking to try to redress the balance. The ship was sunk around the island of Koh Larn, which is located off the coast of Pattaya and was supervised by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. It is hoped that the wreck will not only develop into a new artificial reef, but will also be a big attraction to divers visiting Pattaya.

{timg title:=”Warship” thumb:=”images/stories/srv/blog/small/ship1.jpg” img:=”images/stories/srv/blog/small/ship.jpg” gal:=”gallery-content”}

The Mattapone is not the only planned warship sinking. The authorities have also recently sunk a former navy ship, RTMS Chang. The ship’s resting place is off the south west coast of Koh Chang (see BLOG Article).

{timg title:=”Overview Koh lan” thumb:=”images/stories/srv/blog/small/kohlan1.jpg” img:=”images/stories/srv/blog/small/kohlan.jpg” gal:=”gallery-content”}

Dive operators in Koh Chang and Pattaya that cater to thousands of tourist each year are looking forward to arranging tours of the sunken vessels. The Thai navy carried out work on both vessels to make sure they are free of hazards and safe for divers to explore and they are sure to become major attractions.

Siam Royal View is a leading provider of luxury villas in Pattaya. Our development on Koh Chang was recognised as the best villa development on the Thailand’s eastern seaboard at the national property awards. If you would like more details on property at either of these locations please get in touch.

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