Photo by abhinaba via Flickr CC
Sunken ships can make for some pretty great habitat for sea life, providing good structure for corals or plant life to grow upon, which leads to a whole diverse ecosystem sprouting up. That's what Florida hopes to see, and hopes to capitalize on, when sinking an old battleship off the coast.A World War II US troop ship has been cleaned of contaminants and sunk off the coast of Florida so that it will become a new artificial reef, and new tourist attraction. The state hopes to gain about $8 million a year on estimated tourist income with people diving to see the sunken beast and the fish and marine mammals that are likely to be drawn to it.
The state also hopes that it'll help protect local natural reefs that are suffering from too much attention. Drawing people to this wreck rather than other reefs can spread out some of the burden. The U.S.S. Oriskany, sunk off Pensacola, Florida, has proven to be a successful reef, and hopes are this one will be, too.
The Chicago Tribune reports the cleaning of the ship included:
Workers hauled off more than 1 million feet of wire, 1,500 vent gaskets, dozens of watertight steel doors, 81 bags of asbestos, 193 tons of other potentially cancer-causing substances, 46 tons of garbage that could come loose and float to the surface, 300 pounds of materials containing mercury and 185 55-gallon drums of paint chips.
We're glad they spent so much time and effort cleaning it up, because ships that have sunk unplanned and uncleaned can wreak havoc on marine life.
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