Plymouth Diving

The Scylla

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History

One of the last warships to be built at Plymouth the Scylla was built in Devonport Dockyard in 1967, launched in August 1968 and was commissioned on 14 February 1970.

the scyllaAt the outbreak of the Falklands war in 1982 Scylla had just started a major refit. So short were the Navy of spare parts and equipment for the fleet that the Scylla was used as a donor vessel and cannibalised to allow other ships to be repaired.She did however receive her refit which was completed in December 1984 and went on to the Persian Gulf escorting British Merchant ships through the Straits of Hormuz at the height of the Iran, Iraq war in 1986 - 88.

By the early nineties the Scylla was obsolete in design and technology, and was decommissioned in 1993. On the 27th of March 2004 the Scylla was sunk as an artificial reef. This gave the National Marine Aquarium a unique opportunity to map the development and growth of sea life on a structure from day one.

 

Diving

The wreck itself used to have three large yellow buoys stationed at the bow, middle and stern. Unfortunately these were lost in the storms of the winter of 2005. There is now a single yellow marker on the bow and a yellow channel buoy being used as uplink site to the Aquarium amidships.

diving the scyllaThe National Marine Aquarium commissioned a detailed inspection during 2010 which contains high res photos of all the compartments, they are also scheduled to attach chain and markers to the bow and stern of the wreck along with warning signs to outline the danger of penetrating the wreck without proper method or planning. A copy of the report along with the photos is available to view on Venture.

A year or so into the sinking of the Scylla, marine life is now really starting to establish a foothold on the vessel. Soft corals and barnacles have now adhered to the sides and deck areas whilst the fish population is picking up.

The Scylla is sitting upright with a small list to starboard that has developed since she was sunk. The Scylla was stripped for sinking with only the bridge as a major feature. The doors and hatchways have been removed and there are notices telling you to check your air, but most have gone or become overgrown now.                              bow sign july 2011.jpg - 3.17 MB

Warning signs being fixed, but these have been smashed and broken due to storms

At the stern is the flight deck and hanger for a helicopter and if you want to penetrate this wreck, holes have been cut in the sides to effect entry and exit points. It's worth noting that there are some dead ends that you can’t get out of. Just because the wreck has been prepared for penetration, do not be lulled into a false sense of security. Plan your dive and dive your plan!! The Scylla is not a wreck to ignore your best diving practice.

I carried out a full HD Video survey in 2013 of every cabin and compartment in the ship.  There is heavy silting in the lower rooms, anyone diving the lower areas must treat it similar to a cave dive.  However don’t think because it was deliberately scuttled for divers that it is not like a old wreck, think again. The Scylla has become totally overgrown and colonized by all sorts of plants and creatures.                                                                                                    

 

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