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US Navy freighter sunk as artificial reef - video

In Delawere, on the east coast of the USA, an unusual new attraction for divers has been created. A long-used navy freighter, which took part in World War II and also in the Korean War, has been sunk to the bottom as an artificial reef. The Reedville is a long-lived vessel, with service dating back
Published: August 19, 2020 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 20:50
US Navy freighter sunk as artificial reef – video

In Delawere, on the east coast of the USA, an unusual new attraction for divers has been created. A long-used navy freighter, which took part in World War II and also in the Korean War, has been sunk to the bottom as an artificial reef.

The Reedville is a long-lived vessel, with service dating back to the Second World War. After a colourful and adventurous service, the ship retired to a fishing vessel. But everything has its end, including the life of every ship. Instead of being scrapped, however, the American freighter was sunk as a diving attraction and another link to strengthen the artificial reef system off the coast of Delawere State.

Reedville freighter sunk in Delawere divers24.co.uk
Reedville freighter sunk as artificial reef in Delawere photo DNREC

The project to acquire and sink this 55-metre-long vessel was carried out by the State of Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control – DNREC. It is part of a larger vision to create an artificial reef system in the region. Looking only at recent years, this is the fourth vessel sent to the bottom in a system of 14 dive sites spread over 12 km².

On 13 August 2020, Reedville was sunk some 16 miles offshore, joining Reef 11, also known as Redbird Reef, which covers an area of around 2km² on the bottom. It is a legendary site that is certainly associated by very many divers. All because of the nearly 1,000 carriages of the New York underground sunk there, the 65m long Chesapeake Bay cruise ship, 86 US Army tanks, 8 tugboats, a fishing trawler and two barges.

All of these vehicles were, of course, properly cleaned before being sunk, and once on the bottom, they attracted throngs of new residents at an express pace. This was the overriding objective of the state authorities who, faced with the problem of a severely devastated ecosystem, decided to give it a solid boost to flourish again.

Decommissioned freighter sunk in US divers24.co.uk
Sinking went according to plan photo DNREC

A whole host of new facilities underwater, however, attracted not only representatives of the local fauna, but also huge numbers of divers. This, in turn, has helped to boost the local economy, which is based on the provision of services related to diving, dive training, boat charters or catering. Local fishermen and anglers were also another industry that felt the positive change.

It is now predicted that in addition to more divers, the latest underwater attraction will allow populations of two species of fish – the black snappers and the black tautog – to shoot up. These are particularly prized by anglers, and according to DNERC officials, the profile of the sunken vessel is expected to be ideally suited to the formation of habitats for these fish.

Reedville freighter's final moments on the surface divers24.co.uk
Last moments on the surface photo DNREC

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At Delawere, we continue to strive to improve conditions for recreational divers and anglers. We think the perfect way to do this is to expand our artificial reef system, which includes a total of 14 locations spread throughout the Delaware Bay and along the Atlantic coast. When we sunk the Twin Capes unit 2 years ago forming the centrepiece of this system, it was second to none! Both in terms of providing the amount of habitat and conducting a spectacular wreck dive with five decks ready for exploration. Now, thanks to the Reedville, we have four vessels of a similar class located at a site that will be accessible, attract a huge number of fish and where divers will find a powerhouse of underwater experiences. – DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said.

The sinking of the Reedville was the first such project completed in the region since late 2019, when the Chesapeake Bay cruise ship was sunk.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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