Reef plan for Ark Royal

The aircraft carrier Ark Royal may have a future as an unusual tourist attraction

Plans have been revealed to sink the aircraft carrier Ark Royal as an underwater tourist attraction. A group of professional divers is working on a scheme to acquire the 20,000 ton vessel from the Ministry of Defence and scuttle her as an artificial reef off Torbay.

Members of the Torbay ArkRoyalReef team have inspected the decommissioned ship in Portsmouth, and are setting up a charitable trust to help fund the project. Ark Royal was the last British aircraft carrier to operate Harrier jets and was decommissioned in March after becoming a casualty of the Strategic Defence Review.

Tenders for the vessel have to be submitted by 13 June. If the project goes ahead, ArkRoyalReef will need to raise an estimated £3-3.5 million to acquire and clean the carrier before she is committed to the deep.