The mysterious and elusive charm of a platform that has sunk into the depths of the sea, inhabited by amazing marine species.
This is the Paguro Platform, a special destination for the many divers who plunge into the waters of the Adriatic Sea every year to admire the wreckage and the various forms of life it is home to with their own eyes.
The history of the Paguro, now given a new life, however, is based on a tragic event dating back to the 1960s. In 1963, Agip [General Italian Oil Company] decided to build a platform for the extraction of methane off the coast of Ravenna, 11 miles from the shore of Porto Corsini.
After two years of regular operation, in September 1965, the Paguro drill happened upon a very high-pressure methane deposit, which quickly caused a fire and the sinking of the platform.
Since then, the wreckage of the Paguro has gradually become the ideal habitat for many specimens of marine flora and fauna, so much so that it earned the title of a site of community interest, attributed by the Emilia-Romagna region in 2010. In 1995, the Paguro Association was founded in Ravenna to monitor the biological conservation area and regulate diving.
The reef and diving at the wreck
Upon closer inspection, the Paguro Platform is not only a sunken wreck, but a real underwater citadel composed of various environments and arranged on various levels. The area of the site covers as much as 15,000 square metres, which includes the framework, accommodation buildings and other components of the platform, along with some disused structures from ENI-Agip’s offshore platforms that were moved here between 1999 and 2000.
There are therefore two places to dive, and the depth ranges from 10 metres at the highest point of the wreckage to 33 metres below the surface at the crater generated by the 1965 explosion. A scuba diving paradise that is well suited to experienced divers, given the technical difficulties of diving, such as the visibility and size of the site.
The richness of the life forms that populate the wreck, however, more than makes up for the difficulties involved. The Paguro Platform is an artificial reef, with an environment similar to that of submerged reefs, with extraordinary biological diversity that makes it unique in the region.
There are many examples of animal species that can be seen in this wonderful underwater world. The highest part of the wreck, at a maximum depth of 12 metres, is the kingdom of mussels and oysters; fish are also more present in the shallower areas, where black scorpionfish, European bass, brown meagres, striped seabream, saddled seabream and European conger eels swim. While on the seabed, starfish, among other species, can be seen.
And then there are Homarus and Mediterranean lobsters and sea urchins among the crustaceans, as well as many varieties of seaweed and sea sponges. Finally, visitors to the Paguro wreck also include sea turtles (Caretta caretta) and dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).