01/05/2015 07:24 EST | Updated 03/07/2015 05:59 EST

Annapolis warship to be sunk as largest artificial reef in Vancouver area

VANCOUVER - A warship that once carried helicopters will soon be sunk as a habitat for marine life in Howe Sound near Vancouver.

The Artificial Reef Society of B.C. says the former HMCS Annapolis will be towed from Long Bay to nearby Halkett Bay on Jan. 13 before being sunk four days later.

It says the 110-metre vessel will be the largest artificial reef in the Vancouver area and is expected to help restore and preserve species such as rockfish and lingcod.

Society president Howie Robins says the ship that was bought from the federal government in 2008 will also provide a unique experience for recreational divers.

He says the ship has been meticulously cleaned of hazardous and pollutant materials and that legal challenges over environmental concerns have been dismissed.

The society says the Squamish Nation and the Tsleil-Waututh (slay-WAH'-tooth) Nation support the use of Annapolis as an artificial reef.