Thursday, May 11, 2006

 

Sai Kung ponders sinking of old Russian carrier

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The Standard
By Doug Crets
May 08, 2006


Sai Kung District Council is considering using the decommissioned Russian aircraft carrier Minsk, currently berthed in Shenzhen, as a marine sanctuary attraction.

Sai Kung District Council is considering using the decommissioned Russian aircraft carrier Minsk, currently berthed in Shenzhen, as a marine sanctuary attraction.
At a meeting last Tuesday, Sai Kung resident and ecologist Charles Frew discussed with the district council's Economic Development Committee the possibility of using the Minsk as a potential artificial reef or marine sanctuary attraction in the South China Sea. "I have a dream of having this thing sunk in Sai Kung and creating jobs," said Frew, who runs a company, Asiatic Marine, which provides adventure dive trips for local people and tourists.

He said USS Oriskany, a 270-meter carrier used in World War II as a "combat aircraft carrier," according to www.navsource.org, will be scuttled in Penascola, Florida.

The Web site says that the Oriskany, named after an upstate New York county, was destined for the scrap heap in 1993 and in 1995, but the ship was repossessed twice by the navy after the contractors for the scrap jobs defaulted on their contracts.

The vessel has been stripped to create a tourist attraction for scuba divers and will be sunk next Monday in a ceremony off the coast of Florida.

Frew envisions a similar tourist attraction at an undisclosed location near Sai Kung.

The Minsk, the pride of the former Soviet Union fleet during the Cold War, was bought from the South Korean government by the Minsk Aircraft Carrier Industry Company in June 1998, for US$5 million (HK$39 million), according to Dr Ian Storey, a lecturer in the School of Social and International Studies at Deakin University in Australia.

The carrier ended up in Shenzhen as the central feature of the "Minsk World" theme park, but the company recently went bankrupt.

An auction house is now looking to sell the carrier, according to Shanghai Daily. A reported condition of the sale is that the vessel must stay in Shenzhen for five years.

Frew believes he can convince the Hong Kong government to buy the vessel.

"Can you imagine if you have an aircraft carrier out there... you're bound to pull in [more] local tourists, let alone foreign tourists," he said.


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www.artificial-reefs.blogspot.com

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