It’s been a year and already the wreck of the HMCS Annapolis is becoming a haven for sea life in Halkett Bay near Vancouver, B.C.

The 51-year-old destroyer was sunk last year by the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia and is the eighth reef created by the group (others include a 737 and Second World War victory ship) as part of its mission to create interesting spots for divers and to provide habitat for sea life.

Before sinking the Annapolis, the society cleaned it to remove any environmental hazards. They also cut along the sides of the ship to make the interior more accessible and safe for divers to explore, as well as to be more welcoming for sea life. The plan seems to be working.

“It's been really interesting because it looks pretty barren at first and we are anxiously looking for settlement, and then we start to see a plumose anemone on one dive ... and two worms ... and algae settling," Donna Gibbs, a taxonomist with the Vancouver Aquarium, told the CBC.

She also said they’ve found 12 unique species making their home around the wreck.

These artificial reefs provide “highly complex habitats” on an otherwise bleak sea bottom, according to Jeffrey Marliave, vice president of marine sciences at the Vancouver Aquarium.

In other words, healthy reefs, artificial or not, are to sea life what healthy downtown cores are to cities: bustling, diverse hotspots of life. And of course, they are also popular with divers eager to see areas teaming with life.

Related: HMCS Annapolis sinking postponed amid environmental concerns