Alvor has an artificial reef built in 2000 to protect and develop local species and to create excellent dive sites. The reef offers what it was created for: lots of fish and macro life. If you want to go deeper, in 1917 during WWI, the German submarine U35, sunk a couple of steamboats and other ships, allowing divers to visit this old wrecks, nearly 100 years latter, and experience some adrenaline dives.
A project to build a new tourist attraction, namely an underwater museum, is currently being considerated by council leaders in Portimão in the western Algarve.
If given the green light, the plan is to dismantle four Portuguese naval ships and then sink them three miles off shore thus creating the attraction while at the same time forming an artificial reef that will in time provide sanctuary for a plethora of aquatic wildlife.
According to official sources, the ships will be sunk and deposited at a depth of 30 metres, with visits to the wreckage only being possible through diving, for which only certified individuals and schools can apply.
The Portuguese navy will transport the ships (the Hermenegildo Capelo Frigate, Oliveira do Carmo corvette, Almeida Carvalho ship and Zambeze patrol ship - all of which are currently located at the Alfeite naval base south of Lisbon) to Portimão where they will be taken apart. A non-profit organisation is to be set up for the dismantlement to remove any materials that could contaminate the ocean. The sale of these materials is expected to generate the funds required to complete the project.
The dry part of the museum, which is expected to be known as MUSUBMAR, will be financed and operated by the nearby Museum of Portimão where the history of the ships will be explained.
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