With almost every regulatory hurdle cleared, planners believe they are about two weeks away from sinking a 563-foot former Navy destroyer off the coast of
The Arthur W.
Today, marine salvage teams from Virginia-based American Marine Group are expected to remove the massive propellers, one of the final steps in creating a hulking structure that will serve as home for fish and crustaceans.
Zlokovitz told the Sportfish Advisory Commission that planners have targeted the first week in August for the sinking of the Radford.
The reef, called Del-Jersey-Land for the three states involved in the project, will be placed roughly 28 miles northeast of
The Coast Guard and reef planners are preparing a towing plan to bring the Radford from the Philadelphia
Plans call for the Radford to be sunk upright in 135 feet of water, with the top of the vessel about 60 feet from the surface.
Zlokovitz said it is expected the ship, which will be placed in an area with other sunken vessels and barges, will act as habitat for fish, which will attract fishing charters and dive boats from the three states.
But the project has its critics. The
Maryland's ambitious artificial reef program began in 2006, when the cement remains of the old
The latest project will use clean rubble from the removal of Simkins Dam on the
The Radford is MARI's biggest project to date.
The Radford was named for the first naval officer to become the chairman of the U.S.
The destroyer and its crew served in the Persian Gulf War. The ship made headlines in 1999, when it was involved in a collision with a Baltimore-bound Saudi container ship off the Virginia Capes. Thirteen sailors were injured, and the Radford sustained $32.7 million in damage. Its commander was later relieved of duty.
The Radford was decommissioned eight years ago.