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The first phase of the world's largest underwater theme park has been launched by Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA).
Covering an area of over 100,000 square metres, the dive site will have a 70-metre long decommissioned Boeing 747 as its centerpiece, the largest aircraft ever to be submerged.
A specialised team implemented the required procedures and preparations for the aircraft's submersion in an area that is approximately 20 meters deep, the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.
This included ensuring necessary safety measures are in place, reassembling the aircraft's wings, which had previously been dismantled for the aircraft to be transported to Bahrain, and attaching foundations.
Along with the aircraft, the site will include a replica of a traditional Bahraini pearl merchant's house, artificial coral reefs and other sculptures fabricated from eco-friendly material.
It will also provide researchers with information and data on marine ecology and biology.
Residents and tourists will be able to book trips through licensed diving centers by August, confirmed Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani, chairman of BTEA.
There will be no fees imposed by the tourism ministry or the BTEA.
"The new theme park will undoubtedly emerge as a global tourist attraction…It will develop the tourism sector as a main contributor to the national economy and an important source of the diversification of the national income," Al Zayani said.
"This initiative also aims to revive the kingdom's marine ecosystem and to preserve the local marine environment by incorporating international environmental standards," he added.
Bahrain's Supreme Council for Environment CEO Mohamed Mubarak bin Daina stressed that the project complies to "strict environmental standards".
Preparing the aircraft for submersion included removing wires, hydraulic, aerial and fuel systems, adhesive, plastic, rubber, chemical materials, and all possibly-toxic substances to preserve the marine environment, he said.
The site of the project was also determined following rigorous field investigations, and a technical team coordinated with authorities to find the most appropriate area - one that is not only deep enough, but also where the seabed has the appropriate conditions to withstand the weight of the plane.
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