By Staff Reporter
AN old wreck, the Laboe, was sunk off Yeroskipou on Sunday to create Paphos district’s first artificial reef.
Officials hope the boat will prove as popular among divers as the Zenobia wreck off the coast of Larnaca.
The sinking of the Laboe in the Moulia area, took place at a special event attended by Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis. Dozens of spectators turned up for the event, carried out by a company of specialists under EU guidelines.
The Laboe was built before the Second World War as a fishing vessel. The boat, measuring around 25 metres in length, cost around €30,000 and was bought from the Cyprus Ports Authority by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation and the Paphos tourism development board with the EU funding 50 per cent of the cost. It is the third artificial reef created after Paralimni and Ayia Napa.
The Laboe was sunk two kilometres from the coast at a depth of 25 metres after being cleaned out under international environmental guidelines, ridding it of pollutants.
Artificial reefs are structures intentionally placed on the seabed which aims to mimic the properties provided by a natural reef and help boost marine populations.
Kouyialis said artificial reefs were part of the government’s strategy for marine growth both in terms of the environment and tourism.