Kea island eyes future as mecca for divers

TAGS: Tourism

The government has pledged to back an ambitious scheme by local authorities on the island of Kea to build a state-of-the-art diving center, which will familiarize visitors with its underwater shipwrecks and other treasures.

“The island of Kea could become an internationally renowned diving center with its museum-shipwrecks under the surface of the sea,” said the deputy minister to the prime minister, Terence Quick, Thursday.

Kea is home to the underwater wreck of a German Junkers 52 aircraft from WWII and two famous shipwrecks – the HMHS Britannic, a sister ship of the Titanic that was sunk during WWI by an underwater mine, and the Patris, a paddle steamer that ran aground off the island in 1868. Quick said the wrecks could become a major draw for visitors.

“These underwater treasures of Kea are indeed unique,” he said, adding that, to make the center a reality, it is imperative that the ministries of Tourism, Shipping and Culture work together.

“I, for my part, will coordinate the effort so that ministries work together with the island’s mayor,” he said.