Thailand – Australia – United Kingdom

Sinking of the MV Sipadan Mermaid

The Reef Dive Resort at Pulau Mataking, Sabah is a hide-away island of just some 20 acres divided between 2 islands, Mataking Kecil and Mataking Besar.

The resort prides itself in both a professional image and in developing eco-tourism and a go-green culture.
Our surrounding seas and wildlife are very precious to the island, which is why conservation is taken so seriously. Developing such projects as the reef ball initiative and turtle hatchery schemes stand this resort out amongst many others in the Sabah area.

In 19th Mac 2006, the successful sinking of The Shipwreck Pos created the islands first artificial reef and in just 3 years great development was seen at this site. This vessel was actually brought to fame when she was sunk as the first underwater post box in Malaysia, and she has attracted many different species of both coral and aquatic life creating a new environment for this wildlife to flourish.

Now, some 3 years later, the Pos has begun to deteriorate, with her wooden frame beginning to collapse due to the salt water integration of her delicate structure.

In an effort to further enhance the underwater environment around the island, on Saturday 26th September, the Reef Dive Resort created its 2nd artificial reef, in the shape of the MV Sipadan Mermaid, a 52ft steel hulled vessel.

Amongst the international guests were representatives from WWF(non government organization) and local government authorities who were all taken back by the event and efforts put in by the resort.

The dive team started to flood the ship at 11.15am and after 55 minutes, the MV Sipadan Mermaid finally gave in and began to sink very quickly at the assigned position.
Originally starting her life as a Norwegian fishing boat, the Mermaid was responsible for many successful trips at sea, including along the coasts of Malaysia.
As the Mermaid became older and it has become less cost-effective to maintain her, great thought was put into what should be done with her.

Managing Director of the resort, Mr. David Sie who kindly donated the Mermaid, officially opened the sinking ceremony as the vessel began her final voyage to the bottom of the sea. Mr. Sie said, “The sinking of this new wreck will help us build up the fragile ecosystem at the island whilst easing the pressure off the Sipadan. We hope to see new life on this reef within a matter of months as it creates a new home for many different types of marine animal”.

Resort Manager at the resort Mr. Luke J Cox was responsible for coordinating the event who said, “The sinking of this wreck marks the end of the Mermaid’s life as a boat and the start of her life as a living reef. Within the next 2 months, the marine biology team on the island will begin a full coral transplant programme onto the wreck site which will be a haven for aquatic life and divers alike. The Mermaid in her new position, sitting in approximately 20-25 metres of water, will literally be putting something back into the environment, as she releases new life into the seas around her.

The resort has worked tirelessly with Project Aware, a charity-based project affiliated to PADI (The Professional Association of Diving Instructors) who have actively supported this project from the beginning.

The management also expresses special thanks to all companies, sponsors and staff who have contributed in one way or the other to the event. Project Aware continue to support the resort and all others worldwide in an effort to increase awareness surrounding the fragility of reefs and underwater eco-systems.

The special event ended with a lavish dinner, games and cultural performances from staff as a celebration for the success sinking of the MV Sipadan Mermaid.

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