The "Sufa" was one of five battleships to be smuggled out of France during the 1969 French embargo on Israel following the six day war. It was in active service for over 20 years (1969-1988) and had an outstanding battle record. In may 1994 she was deployed on a sandy bottom bed, south of the Eilat port, to become a diving attraction for scuba divers and to take diving stress off the surrounding reef. Before deployment a thorough preparation project took place to consider the location, perform metallurgic tests and carry out extensive reconstruction to the vessel. To ensure minimal ecological disturbance and long term stability, all engine and weapon parts were taken out and all traces of fuels and lubricants removed. Diving safety specialists blocked entrances, made safe other hazards, and insured free water flow between the upper and lower compartments. The metallurgical survey ensured there was no corrosion or unstable materials present ( e.g brass). The ship had been painted in the past with anti-corrosive paint ("antifouling"), however, due to its age, it was estimated that it would have little effect on the fauna. We found the paint peeling off in many places, and it seems to have had no effect on the coverage of coral.
The coral community and recruitment pattern of corals on a ship wreck on the Eilat coast (Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea) was surveyed. Ten species and 69 individual colonies were counted in ten quadrate samples on the wreck's outer surfaces (7.5m2 of the estimated total of 586m2 ). Due to the short period of time the wreck has been underwater the corals are still in succession stage. Recruit numbers are low and reflect on the diversity indexes and statistical accuracy. Statistically, it appears that there is no significant dependency between different independent variables like light, surface material, sedimentation, etc. However the contribution of some factors to the recruitment pattern was more obvious (disturbance, surface complexity and depth).
By periodically surveying the wreck, it would be possible to estimate the succession progress and process for future projects. We recommend the practice of using wrecks for diving-traffic diversion and as new sites for coral attachment in uninhabited locations.
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to this project. Please go to: Sufa
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