Bahrain recently announced that it will launch the world’s largest underwater theme park, which include a sunken, decommissioned Boeing 747 as its primary attraction. The park will cover an area of around 25 acres (100,000 square meters), with the 230-foot-long (70 m) jet as the highlight.
According to the Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority (BTEA):
- The project was designed to have a positive impact on the marine life within the park and every effort has been taken to limit the project’s environmental footprint.
- A pearl-merchant house will be replicated on a large scale, then submerged using design features to maximize the surface area and volume of the structure, increasing its capacity as a refuge for marine life.
- The wind towers of the pearl merchant house will extend alongside the aircraft and will extend off the sea floor by 40 feet (12 m), placing them in the photic zone, which allows the park to explore and experiment with coral nurseries.
- The project’s extensive surface area will promote the growth of invertebrates, particularly oysters.
- Rigorous field investigations were done during the stage of choosing the project site so as to avoid naturally ecological sensitive sites.
- The project will serve as a valuable tool in educating the public on the importance of environmental preservation.
- The site will be available to school and university students as a ‘live lab,’ allowing them the opportunity to conduct practical experiments.
- The 747 has been decontaminated from all wiring, all hydraulic, pneumatic and fuel systems, and all adhesives, insulation, plastics, rubbers, chemicals or other potential toxic substances.
- The aircraft surfaces will be subjected to a high-pressure wash with bio-friendly detergents to ensure all post-production coatings, oil and grime are removed before being submerged.
- Efforts have been expended to ensure delivery of the project in the most environmentally sound manner and under the strictest of regional and international waste management guidelines.
In addition to the aircraft, the dive site will also include a replica of a traditional Bahraini pearl merchant’s house as noted above, artificial coral reefs and other sculptures that will be fabricated from eco-friendly material. Parts of the park are slated to open in summer 2019.