İzmir ferries to revive diving tourism

İzmir ferries to revive diving tourism

İZMİR – Anadolu Agency
İzmir ferries to revive diving tourism

AA photo

Two ferries which had carried passengers in the Aegean city of İzmir since the 1970s will soon be occupied by sea creatures and divers after they are submerged in the city’s Karaburun district in an effort to boost diving tourism. 

The ferries, named 9 Eylül and Alaybey, were produced at the Alaybey shipyard and put into service in 1976 and completed their economic life in 2012 after cruising between İzmir’s Karşıyaka and Konak ports. 

The İzmir Metropolitan Municipality put the ferries up for sale but failed to find a buyer. Finally, they were granted to the Karaburun Municipality. 

Karaburun deputy district governor Osman Oğuz Ekşi said the artificial reef project, where the ferries will be used, had come to an end. 

He said academics had cleaned the ferries of hazardous materials, adding they would be submerged off the islands of Büyükada and Küçükada at ceremonies on April 29 and 30. 

Ekşi said an artificial reef project initiated in 2008 had increased the population and species of sea creatures in the region, adding, “With the two ferries, diving tourism will progress in Karaburun, where people come to rest.” 

Derya Can, who set a world record by diving to 90.2 meters in the southern province of Antalya in 2014, will be the first person to dive into the 9 Eylül ferry. 

Stating that he was very excited about the project, Can added, “This is a significant factor to draw attention [to the area] since the ferries are big and they will be home to big sea creatures. Divers will want to photograph them.”  

Meanwhile, some have opposed the ferries being submerged, saying the ferries were among the symbols of the city.

Writer Yaşar Aksoy said the ferries could be turned into ferry museums or cafes like the ones in Europe. 

“It is ironic that the ferries will be gifted to the fish. There are so many materials to give the fish,” he said.