By Humphrey Carter PALMA

CALVIA Council has won an important battle in its war with the Ministry of Defense and the central government over its plan to sink the decommissioned frigate Baleares off the coast and transform it into an artificial reef for marine life and divers.

The council first came up with the idea back in 2005 but in 2007, the Ministry for the Environment refused to grant the council permission to sink the warship.

However, yesterday, the Supreme Court ordered the Ministry of Defense to hand over all documents relevant to the project in order to break the deadlock.

The plan is based on a similar project carried out off the south coast of England with great success.
The 133 metre frigate, which was decommissioned in 2004, was to have been stripped and decontaminated before being sunk to a depth of 400 metres a little over 10'0 metres from the Malgrats Isles marine reserve off the Calvia Coast. The idea was to create an artificial reef for marine life and also a unique experience for divers as part of the council's drive to diversify its tourism activities and attractions in the municipality.

The idea was welcomed by the island's diving clubs and schools at the time as well as the local tourist industry because diving is an all-year activity. Yesterday, the Ministry of Defense and the central government were ordered to hand over the documents or face a fine.

Whether this is the first step to the frigate finally being sunk of the coast of Calvia now remains to be seen as the legal battle continues.