Turkey's first tourist submarine Nemo Primero, inaugurated two years ago in the holiday resort city of Antalya, a popular spot for arriving foreigners, aims to take about 22,000 tourists to the depths of the Mediterranean Sea this year. Offering a great opportunity to discover the underwater beauty offshore of Antalya, Nemo Primero made its maiden dive to the depths of the Mediterranean in 2017 in a bid to further boost tourism.
Dives to the wreck of the St. Didier, a French ship that sunk during WW II in 1942 and located at a depth of 35 meters off the Kaleiçi yacht port, began in April. The sunken wreckage has grabbed the attention of foreign tourists, who like to take photographs of undersea life.
The submarine carries 44 people on average and makes five trips a day that last for about an hour each. Becoming a very popular spot for foreigners, Nemo Primero hosted around 18,000 visitors last year and is poised to welcome some 22,000 tourists this year.
Submarine Turkey Operation Officer Zafer Deveci was cited by Ihlas News Agency (IHA) as saying that they brought a different perspective to alternative tourism. Indicating that they launched dives as of April, Deveci said: "We expect 22,000 domestic and foreign passengers this year. We carry out 25 dives in five days of the week. Each dive lasts about one hour. We dive to the French shipwreck, but if conditions underwater are appropriate, we also show our guests round the ship. Our divers also do various shows around the submarine."
Deveci emphasized that German and Russian tourists have shown the greatest interest in the trips. He indicated that their aim is to contribute to Antalya's tourism goals, adding that they seek to add another diving point around Sıçan Island in a short period of time. The Nemo Primero was purchased from Finland, but its modernization upgrades were performed in Spain. Modernization work took one year to complete and cost approximately 5 million euros ($5.57 million).
The submarine has a capacity of around 46 people and can operate up to 110 meters under the sea. The electric-powered vessel is 18 meters long and four meters wide. It weighs 106 tons and can stay underwater for up to 10 hours. Nemo Primero is equipped with 22 observation windows that are 80 centimeters in diameter to allow for easy sea viewing, as well as seats to make passengers feel comfortable.
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