Cuba to open tour of sunken Spanish-American War vessels
From October 1, visitors will be able to dive around the wrecks of five Spanish warships that were trapped in Santiago bay in southeastern Cuba and sunk by US warships in a running naval battle on July 3, 1898.
The five Spanish ships were the cruisers "Cristobal Colon," "Almirante Oquendo," and the "Vizcaya," and the destroyers "Furor," and "Pluton."
The sixth sunken vessel was the US steamer "Merrimac," which the Americans scuttled at the mouth of the bay to block the escape of the Spanish fleet.
The Spanish suffered 371 dead, 151 wounded and 1,670 prisoners, including Spanish admiral Pascual Cervera, who called the mismatch "a sacrifice as sterile as it was useless." The US side suffered one dead and two wounded.
Tourism is Cuba's main earner, ahead of medical services in other countries. The island receives 2.4 million tourists annually, who bring in some two billion dollars in revenue.AFP