What comes to your mind when the words "oil rig" are uttered? Is it just a piece of machinery, doing its job to produce resources the world needs? Or are you reminded of the catastrophic events caused by malfunctions of an oil rig, as evidenced through life of all forms being choked out by poisonous oil spills? How about SCUBA diving?
Believe it or not, the oil rig also plays a role in supporting new ecosystems. Legislation to hold oil companies responsible for the cleanup and disposal of a decommissioned oil rig began in 1953, paving the way for the current Rigs-to-Reefs program.
In the days before such programs, removal of an oil rig was extremely costly and posed significant safety risks to workers. When it was discovered that reef life was 40 to 50 times more prolific at the base of an oil rig than in the natural environment, it was decided that money and lives could be saved by simply turning the oil rig into an artificial reef.
The money that is saved by creating the reef as opposed to total deconstruction is then donated to the maintenance costs of the new reef. It is a wonderful example of environmental responsibility on the part of the oil companies.
Boutique dive resort
Now the preservation of the oil rig has been taken a step further, and brought a new kind of resort to SCUBA divers: The Seaventures Rig Resort. This repurposed oil rig is found within the crystalline waters of the Coral Triangle (aka as one of the best places to scuba dive in the world, between the islands Sipadan, Mabul, and Kapalai.
The fully-equipped resort houses all the amenities you would find at a modern resort -- wi-fi in all guest rooms, air conditioning, satellite TV, a scuba dive shop, food prepared in the local style, live music, and best of all, a house reef built upon the rig that houses the resort.
Scuba Dive in the Coral Triangle
Scuba dive excursions to the immediate islands can be facilitated, but the house reef diving of the oil rig is unlimited and available for every guest. On this reef you will find a healthy population of hundreds of marine creatures, including pipefish, frogfish, and nudibranchs.
The resort offers both day and night diving on their house reef. The main attraction of the Seaventures Rig Resort is SCUBA diving, so while you aren't likely to find luxurious accommodations here, you will enjoy the privilege of being one of only 125 scuba divers per day granted a permit to explore these waters.
The oil rig resort houses just 50 guests, and activities are available for scuba divers and non-scuba divers alike. While an oil rig can most certainly pose a threat to life on the planet, Seaventures Rig Resort is a shining example of how people can ensure that they don't have to only be harbingers of destruction.
Blog written by: Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.
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