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WWII warships saving Thai coral reefs?


Environmental issues affect every part of our planet. However, as we inhabit the land, we are more inclined to notice the effects of pollution on the ground and in the air.

But our affection is not good merit for Earth's troubles. Climate change and man-made behaviour also led to gradually warming oceans. Although this shift in the water temperature might suit us when we go for a swim, unfortunately, marine life is not as lucky.

One of the common issues that the rising water temperature carries is coral bleaching. Once it does, it's not really dead, but it's definitely under more stress and near-death altogether. To illustrate just how concerning this may be, the US lost half of its coral reefs in the Caribbean to massive bleaching in 2005.

Surat Thani province, in the Gulf of Thailand. In 2010, the water temperature passed the mark of 30 degrees Celsius, making this issue alarming. Sustainability became a necessity and PTTEPP came to deliver.

Through incredible creativity, they came to an idea. Rebrand the infamous old ships, giving them a new, heroic image. By sinking the WWII Warships, they used their infrastructure to shelter the endangered marine life. As soon as the ships were laid at the seabed, PTTEPP conducted a study together with the Faculty of Fishery from Kasetsart University. The aim was to monitor the results of the initiative, and the study was divided into 3 phases:

▪️Environmental Impact: Checking the impacts on conditions of the seabed, including seabed soil, water quality, planktons and local sea creatures
▪️Marine Ecology and Biodiversity: Studying the changes of marine ecology and biodiversity. The working team has developed the tools to facilitate long-term studies about living organisms and monitor sessile organisms, including sea sponges, black corals or sea whips.
▪️The Usage of the Wreck Dive Sites: Studying the reduction of the impacts on natural coral reefs, including keeping a record of the number of tourists and tourism revenue.

The first study was conducted in 2011 and the second in 2017-2018. Since 2011, the program has generated outcomes that exceeded expectations across various fields. Taking into account the environmental impact, economic, and human capital development - the project was a success!

Looking from the green perspective, the study resulted in:

▪️Small fish species number going up from 10 to more than 60, reflecting the increase in marine biodiversity
▪️Reduced number of coral reef touches by 16 million times since 2014
▪️No significant (negative) impacts on the seabed conditions
▪️Potential key insights into future ecology, environmental change and biodiversity discussions

PTTEP's success with this project was not overlooked at our Gulf Sustainability Awards '21. The judges saw the potential and rewarded it with the Silver Award in the Best Community Development category.

If you want to read more about this fascinating initiative and find other intriguing award-winning projects, download our free eBook here.

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