Since before the Dokos shipwreck (the oldest shipwreck known to archeologists, dating to 2700-2200 BC) wrecks have transformed the death of a ship to the birth of marine life. Even in barren areas of the ocean that lack structure to support sealife, shipwrecks quickly become unique biospheres of marine life by providing protected artificial habitats.
Artificial reefs create unique habitats for numerous species from small crustaceans to various species of fish and sharks. Areas of the ocean that are otherwise barren of life see rapid biodiversification with the introduction of artificial reefs. These reefs alcreate economic incentives in the maritime recreational industry as they become destinations for both charter fishing trips and recreational diving.
The Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Artificial Reef grew by one last week with the addition of a 320-foot decommissioned ferry, M.V. Twin Capes. The ferry ran between Cape May, NJ, and Cape Henlopen, DE, making thousands of trips between the two capes. It made its final journey this past Friday, not between the capes but to the ocean floor after being escorted out to the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Artificial Reef. Divers cut holes in the hull and a drone captured the footage of the ferry’s first trip to the deep blue. See the video in this below clip from NJ.com:
Twin Capes joins the USS Arthur W. Radford, a former Navy destroyer that was sunk at the site in 2001, and the USCG Tamaroa, deep-sixed in 2017. While Radford is the longest ship in the artificial reef, the beam of the newest addition should provide even better conditions for fish habitat and recreational diving in the years to come.
See video of the USCG Tamaroa joining the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Artificial Reef here:
If those two videos haven’t quenched your thirst for seeing ships intentionally disappear into the ocean deep, here is one more interesting video from GoPro. Here, the Mexican Naval ship, Uribe 121, the first Mexican naval ship to support helicopters, was sunk in 2015 to create the Rosarito Underwater Park in the Pacific Ocean, just south of Tijuana.