Well here’s a fin-tastic idea that serves a great porpoise (sorry – the puns just presented themselves and we couldn’t resist).

The Dubai Police have come up with a way to give some of their old surplus vehicles a new life. Instead of having them scrapped, they’ve opted for an environmentally friendly method – having them cleaned and then sunk to the sea bed.

– Where to see animals in the UAE

In doing this they’ve spawned new artificial reefs that have attracted the fish that inhabit our waters.

The idea was birthed back in 2012 by Major Obaid Mohammad Al Shamsi, Director of the Property Management Department at Dubai Police. He had read about similar schemes in other countries, and suggested the idea as an alternative means of recycling old vehicles.

Dubbed the ‘Police Armoured Vehicles Artificial Reef Project’, the plan was sparked into motion by Lt. Col. Dr. Tamim Al Haj, Director of the Environment, Health and Safety Department at the Dubai Police.

However, creating the reef wasn’t as easy as just stripping the vehicles of parts and plopping them in the water. Lt. Col. Haj told Gulf News, “We followed all the environmental requirements, which is to remove the vehicle’s tyres, paint, engines and oils and grease. We used the expertise of diving teams and equipment such as cranes from the Transport and Rescue Department to sink the armoured vehicles, a task that took an entire day”.

The location for the new sunken reef was selected near The World Islands, chosen by the municipality for the sole reason that there were no fish there to begin with. However, it took all of three months before divers were able to spot some new fishy inhabitants amongst the wrecks.

In less than just one year, the artificial vehicle reef was home to over 17 different species of fish, species that weren’t living in the area prior to the reef’s creation.

The project now spans an area of one nautical mile, and we hope to see fish continue to ride the wave of free accommodation, leading to even more moving into the reef.


The police reef project isn’t the only interesting wreck under our region’s deep blue seas. In fact, the west coast is often described as a wreck diver’s paradise, with almost 20 wrecks registered as official dive sites.

Favourites include the say-it-as-you-see-it ‘Cement Barge,’ which sits practically intact 12m below the surface off the coast of Dubai. Sources claim that the cement barge sank in the early 70s after running into heavy weather en route to the creek. Today, it’s a magnet for a variety of marine life including snapper, hammour, and the occasional stingray. It’s also one of the few wrecks that is shallow enough to snorkel around, as it’s easily viewed from the surface. To explore ‘Cement Barge’ for yourself, visit scubadiveuae.com.

A little farther afield, and the aptly named ‘Landing Craft’ located at the tip of Musandam is also a fantastic wreck dive. Originally used as a method for carrying water to remote villages around Musandam, the vessel was later decommissioned and sunk along with a small aircraft, which rests broken on the top deck. Nowaways, it makes for a great night dive exploring the facades and crevices of this old vessel. To check out this brilliant wreck, contact extremesports.ae.

Now, because we began this story with some, let’s end with some cheesy and fishy puns:

How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh?

Ten tickles.

Sorry. Just squidding.