Greek authorities approved a set of rules which will allow recreational divers to access dozens of ship and plane wreck sites across the country.
Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos, Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis and Culture Minister Lina Mendoni signed a ministerial decision this week paving the way for diving tourism activities at 91 designated sites.
Divers will have access to 91 World War II ship and plane wrecks dating as far back as 1868 and located at up to 120 meters under water.
Under the regulations, individual divers and tourism companies providing diving services will have to submit required documentation before being allowed access to the sites.
According to the decision, diving will only be allowed after completion of documentation, while divers are prohibited from any act or omission that may result in contact, damage or deterioration of the wrecks, as well as from the collection or simple movement of any transferable objects located on, in or around the wrecks, on the seabed or in the surrounding area.
Additionally, conducting research in order to identify or locate movable objects both in the area of the shipwreck and in the wider area is also not allowed. Any research or investigative activities of ship or plane wrecks and surrounding areas requires a permit issued by the culture ministry.
Greece is aiming to develop its underwater heritage as a tourism product as well as create diving and marine parks. In this direction, the tourism ministry will be appointing a committee for the further development of the special interest tourism segment.