The Newtown creek, a publicly owned tanker of the New York City was sunk at the Pompano Beach of South Florida on July 23rd July. The 324-foot tanker, built in 1967, and christened later as the Lady Luck was sold to Shipwreck Park, Inc. in a public-private endeavor, sponsored by the city of Pompano Beach and Isle Casino Racing Pompano Beach. Shipwreck Park specializes in creating artificial reefs. The sinking was handled by a team adept at the work, who also handled the sinking of US Oriskany. The sinking of the ship was a slow and calculated process and had the hearts of the authorities stopped as it refused to go down within the stipulated time. People’s guts had definitely twisted with such a spectacle in front of their eyes.
“She was a great ship,” said Jon Bailey, a ship hand. “I spent a quarter of my life working on her. She never let us down. But I’m glad this is how she’s going, instead of to China for scrap metal.”
Lady Luck has now become a part of an artificial reef system, being in the center of 16 other ships-turned-reefs.
The preparation of the sinking was done in less than usual time and with lesser expenditure as the ship did not require much environmental cleaning and prepping. It was sunk about a mile away from the Pompano Beach Fishing Pier and is now at the bottom of the sea with its hull resting in the sand in 120-feet of water, and its top 50-feet under the surface of the water.
It has 16 staterooms, the captain’s deck, a galley, engine room, tanker holding bays, rotating underwater art exhibits, and a mock underwater casino complete with a poker table, roulette table, slot machine on the main deck, thanks to Dennis MacDonald, who has put in extensive creativity to design the reef ship, hoping that the design will attract tourists and marine organisms alike and contribute to the reef system. All these features will also allow divers and visitors great photo opportunities, with sophisticated underwater designs merging with the natural beauty of marine life.
“Our mission starting with the Lady Luck is to preserve the reef ecosystem by developing this underwater cultural arts park as a significant dive attraction. We think divers worldwide will love this new artificial reef, and we expect the popularity of Shipwreck Park to take pressure off of natural coral reefs nearby.” Greg Harrison, Chairman of the Shipwreck Park, Inc. reportedly told the people present during the event.
Tommy DiGiorgio, Jr. Chair of Pompano Beach Ecological Development informed the media and the visitors present about major advantages of the park. It is near a major airport(Lauderdale International Airport), and only a mile offshore. A 10-minute boat ride will carry one to the middle of the park. This will allow the visitors to spend more time underwater, than during the travel.
“I believe that artificial reefs, when executed responsibly provide a number of benefits for not only the local economy but also countless marine species. In a surprisingly short amount of time, the ungainly, sterile ship evolves into an algae-covered piece of nature, supporting schools of fishes around the perimeter and countless reef fish, corals, invertebrates in every nook and cranny.” Marine Biologist and Underwater Photographer, Zach Ransom said.
Featured Image Source: sun-sentinel.com