Video: Car Ferry Sunk as Artificial Reef off Brazil

Published Nov 23, 2020 4:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

After a COVID-related delay, a ropax ferry and an offshore tug have been sunk as part of an artificial reef in Bahia, Brazil. 

Over the weekend, local dive tour operators and contractors sent down the tug Vega and the 300-passenger car ferry Agenor Gordilho in 100 feet of water off Salvador, Brazil. The operation followed a long series of preparatory steps, including the removal of all pollutants. The sinking took about an hour and thirty minutes. 

The site is less than a mile from shore - unusually close in for an artificial reef. It was purposefully chosen to allow easy access for dive tourism, and the first tours could begin as early as next week. Given the bay's thriving marine environment, the organizers of the operation expect that the vessel will be encrusted in marine life within a year's time. 

“We are doing today the first sinking of a ferry in Brazil for tourism purposes and, with that, to encourage this activity more than ever because it attracts a high-standard audience. We have all the potential here to do that," said Bahia's state secretary of tourism, Fausto Franco. 

The sinking will also save the state nearly $2,000 per month in docking and maintenance fees for the decommissioned ferry. Additional underused car ferries will follow soon, he said.

"The assisted sinking of the ferry boat Agenor Gordilho and the tugboat Vega is a milestone for our nautical tourism. Baía de Todos-os-Santos today saw a historic event that, certainly, will generate development, jobs and income," said Bahia's governor, Rui Costa.