The HMS Britannic, a WWI era ship dubbed “Titanic 2,” has been resting at the bottom of the Aegean for almost 100 years.
But now the owner of a local diving club is considering redeveloping the wreckage into an underwater theme park that could generate tourist-driven capital into Greece’s cash-strapped economy.
Yiannis Tsavelakos has been guiding dives throughout the Meditteranean for years. After recently attending a forum about the Britannic, the diver says he came up with the idea of creating a subterranean diving paradise, connecting the Britannic with other sunken wrecks in the Kea Channel, reports the Independent.
“We have a unique diving area right on our doorstep,” said Tsavelakos.
The Britannic was built by the White Star Line in 1911 and launched as a sister ship to the Titanic in 1914. After the disastrous sinking of the Titanic in 1912—where thousands died due to a lack of lifeboats—Britannic’s Belfast-based builder Harland and Wolff fitted it with extra lifeboats, a double hull and added engine power. Still, many at the time believed the ship to be “unsinkable.”
Like the Titanic, the Britannic was designed as a transatlantic passenger liner. But at the outbreak of WWI, the vessel was transformed into a hospital ship.
On Nov. 21, 1916, the Britannic triggered an underwater mine while en route to pick up wounded British soliders on the isle of Lemnos in the northern Aegean Sea. All but 30 of the 1,065 people on board were rescued but the sinking marked the largest ship lost during the war.
The wreckage lay 400 feet below the sea until 1975 when it was discovered by French underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau.
Earlier this month, Grecian authorities organized a conference that drew a community of international influencers including historians, diving experts, oceanographers and relatives of the crew to discuss future plans for the vessel as the 100th anniversary of its sinking approaches.