Shipwrecks, diving and marine history will be the focus of an international conference to take place on the Cycladic island of Kea on September 30-October 2.
Jointly organized by the Kea Municipality and the Friends of Kea Society, with the aim to establish the island as a major diving tourism destination as well as explore its history of shipwrecks, the program of the conference titled “100 Years Kea’s Shipwrecks 1916-2016”, was presented at the Acropolis Museum on Monday.
Under the auspices of the the South Aegean Region, the three-day event marking a century since the S/S Burdigala and HMHS Britannic sank by seven days apart due to underwater mines in the Kea Channel, will host experts, academics and deep-water photographers who will share their knowledge, passion and insight into the mysteries of the shipwrecks.
Prominent speakers set to participate include UK shipwreck explorer Leigh Bishop Leigh, CEO and founder of the Cousteau Divers Organization Pierre-Yves Cousteau, British author Mark Chirnside, technical divers Dimitris Galon and Richie Kohler, writer Michail Michailakis, professional diver and oceanographer Peter Nicolaides and Director of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities Dr Angeliki Simosi.
“A small island, a big, exciting story that intrigues and invites us to discover the silent depths. The events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the two ocean liners aim to shed light on the unexplored and always attractive mysteries of World War I,” South Aegean Prefect George Hadjimarkos said.
“Kea is attempting to take leap forward, with tourism and local agriculture as the primary focus and starting point,” Kea Mayor Ioannis Evangelou said about the initiative.
In the meantime, proceeds from the conference will go towards funding the “Carl Spencer” scholarship program supporting the island’s students in honor of the British diver who died while making a documentary about the Britannic in 1916.