Latest study shown by Nautical Archaeology Society in UK (Jun 2013) shows that wreck diving industry – if it is maintained continuously – offers prolonged benefit to the local inhabitant. It is estimated that in every visit one diver spends at least 60 Pounds sterling/diver/day. Provided that the average of 850 visits to the Coronation wreck benefits 42,557 Pounds sterling in 2012, it is believed that wreck diving industry will sustainably transfuse fresh money to the local community. Other study in Texas by Robert Ditton et.al. (Texas A&M University – 2002) shows that wreck diving and artificial reefs dive spots in Texas part of Gulf of Mexico yields 162 USD / diver / day to the local residents. Another study from Johns et.al (2003) in South Florida shows that wreck diving contributes 204 USD / diver / day to the local community.
By having such figures as shown above it is also expected that wreck diving in Morotai also benefits about 150 – 210 USD / diver / day to the Morotai residents (including Dive Center itself). However from the visitors who experienced wreck diving in Morotai (from October 2013 – January 2014) they spends approximately 101 USD / diver / day. This number already includes accommodation, meals, and local transportation in Morotai.
Aside from economical value, wreck diving in Morotai poses significant threat: thievery, non-responsible diver behavior, as well as natural decay of the wrecks. Due to no local regulation establishment to protect Morotai Sea, the wreck would not be guaranteed to be the main attraction in the future. Despite the effort is conducted by Shark Diving Indonesia to encourage local community to participate in diving and marine tourism, the government involvement is much more needed, to maintain the Wreck Sites as our legacy.
A comprehensive survey will be conducted in February 2014 to mapping the sites precisely in order to maintain the wreck position and condition for a sustainable wreck diving activity. Shark Diving Indonesia together with the student scientist from University take part in all effort to salvage the wreck site in Morotai.