Belize has long been a haven for divers and is ranked among the top dive destinations in the world. The country’s current mega dive attractions include the 185-mile-long barrier reef, second longest in the world, and the Great Blue Hole, a 125-meter deep sinkhole made famous by Jacques Cousteau. Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), a part of ASR Group, donated “The Wit,” a decommissioned concrete ship used for decades as an offshore, floating storage facility for molasses, to reinforce the country’s position as a leading destination for diving aficionados.
We donated the ship to the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA). Initially used as a floating transfer station to transport supplies around the U.S. Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard during World War II, the ship measures roughly 375 ft. in length, 58 ft. in width and 38 ft. in depth. The Wit was submerged to the ocean floor and became Belize’s largest wreck dive and reef enhancement project, called “The Wit, Turneffe.”
The project is located in the Blackbird Caye ecosystem, within the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve’s Soldier Caye Conservation Zone. Now cemented in the country’s underwater landscape, the ship will draw the attention of international divers and snorkelers, as well as create a natural, protected haven for Belize’s vibrant wildlife.
Over the years, it is expected is that marine flora and fauna will fill the walls, rooms and cabins and create a truly unique dive experience. For wreck dive enthusiasts, “The Wit, Turneffe” is comparative to its sister ship sunk in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1995, “The WitConcrete II,” which has become one of that islands’ premier dive sites.
TASA, with support from Blackbird Caye Resort, the Ministry of Blue Economy & Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora, will manage the site. Funds collected via park entrance fees will assist in financing TASA’s operations costs and other programs in the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve.