The Portuguese media is reporting that 26 different species of fish have found a new home in and around the wreck of the retired warship Afonso Cerqueira.
Newsmaker was invited by the Portuguese navy to film on board the ship as its specialist team fitted explosive charges on the ship which had been towed 450 metres off the coast of Madeira.
Twenty-four hours later a large exclusion zone had been set up on land and sea around the ship as it was sunk to create an artificial reef.
Two years on the project is seen as a great success. Despite the impact of COVID-19 on tourism, a large number of divers have travelled to the area to investigate the wreck.
Marine conservationists, who are monitoring the area, are also pleased with the outcome. As well as identifying 26 types of fish, they say the artificial reef is creating its own biodiversity.
The project also demonstrated the effectiveness of SABREX™, an explosive cutting charge provided by Chemring Energetics UK. It was used to cut 16 x 1 square metre holes out of the ship’s hull under the waterline.
Watch the video of the sinking, with dramatic on-board footage of the moment the explosives were detonated sending the Afonso Cerqueira to the ocean bed in 100 seconds.