[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2006, 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK
New life for US warship on seabed
The US warship Oriskany sinking into the ocean

A decommissioned US warship has found a new lease of life on the ocean floor, after being sunk to become the world's largest artificial diving reef.

The USS Oriskany, which served in the Korean and Vietnam wars, was sent to the seabed off the Florida coast in an operation carried out by the US Navy.

It took 500lb (226kg) of explosives to sink the 32,000-metric ton vessel to its new home off the Florida coast.

The new tourist attraction is expected to bring in $92m (49m) a year.

A swift end

Navy divers rigged the hull with 22 explosive charges which, when detonated, sank the ageing aircraft carrier some 26 miles (42km) off the coast.

People watch as the US warship Oriskany is towed off to meet its end
The new reef is expected to bring in $92m in tourism revenues
Watched by dozens of war veterans, some of whom had served on board the Oriskany itself, the vessel went down in just 30 minutes.

Experts had predicted the operation could take up to five hours.

Measuring close to 300m (1000ft) in length, the Oriskany is the largest ship ever to be purposely sunk in order to create an artificial reef.

The reef is expected to attract coral growth, fish and other sea creatures, as well as curious divers and fishermen.

It took months of discussion with environmental groups before the $19m (10m) operation, which involved stripping the ship of toxic materials, was given the go-ahead.


SEE ALSO:


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific