Photo copyright U.S. Navy

An ex-warship of the US navy was sunk yesterday to become the largest artificial reef in the world.

The navy has been working with environmental groups to prepare for the sinking since 2003. It conducted several scientific studies to make sure that the USS Oriskany would create an environmentally safe reef on the Florida seabed.

The ship was sunk at a depth of 65 m (212 feet) at mean low water. This means that the shallowest part of the vessel will be deeper than 19 m (61 feet).

The 270 m (888 feet) ship took about 37 minutes to sink below the surface.

Modifications have been made to the ship for the safety of recreational divers. These include the removal of protrusions on bulkheads, and of glass from windows. You can’t dive it yet though: diving is currently restricted to allow for the possibility of air venting.

The reefing of the ex-ORISKANY is the start of a completely new program for the Navy. It is the first vessel that the Navy has sunk intentionally to form an artificial reef.

More ships are to be offered for artificial reefs later this year.

Source: Navy Newstand

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