[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Re:USS Mohawk becomes artificial reef


USS Mohawk becomes artificial reef

Jul 02, 2012 2:48 PM EDT


The World War II ship the USS Mohawk was scuttled 28 miles off the coast of Sanibel Island early Monday afternoon. It is now an artificial reef for divers and anglers and is a veterans memorial.

The county's Marine Services Program and Reefmakers LLC, a Key West company that specializes in sinking ships as artificial reefs, was scheduled to scuttle the 165-foot World War II Coast Guard cutter at 11 a.m., but it was delayed by nearly two hours.

Just before 1 p.m., there was a loud explosion, debris flew off the ship and it slowly descended to the bottom of the Gulf. It took just three minutes to sink below the water line.

Joe Weatherby and his team spent two months in Fort Myers Beach preparing the rusted ship, removing hazardous oil and readying her for her final destination.

"She's still got her propellers, she's still got her guns and her life raft back on board and you never ever, ever see artificial reefs going into the sea looking like this," Weatherby said.

Sunday morning crews towed the ship to its final destination and anchored it in preparation for the sinking.

Similar artificial reef projects have created millions of tourism dollars throughout Florida.

The USS Mohawk will make the only artificial reef of its kind in Southwest Florida, and it's the first to honor veterans.


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