The empty areas in the north and center of this reef contain a number of Army tanks. ( not shown ) The Atlantic City Reef is one of the oldest artificial reef sites in New Jersey. Reef-building activities at this site date back to 1935.
This partially intact wood hull from the 1800s is probably the oldest vessel sunk in the New Jersey Reef Program, and one of the only wooden ones as well. It has been described as a "Civil War stone barge" that was later adapted to fishing and clam dredging. The construction was massive - a double course of 2" oak planks on the hull, with 8"x16" deck beams. For reefing, the deck was covered with a layer of concrete ballast. Despite all this, within a year the vessel broke up completely on the bottom. This and other experiences with wooden vessels eventually led the Reef Program to proscribe wood as a reef material.
The American was the last Grand Banks fishing schooner to operate out of Gloucester MA. The wooden vessel carried 14 dories, from which fishermen jigged cod on the Georges and Grand Banks. In 1965 she was retired to Cape May Harbor where it spent 20 years as a floating cocktail lounge. After sinking, the wooden masts came loose and floated to the surface, and had to b retrieved. As a result of this, vessels like this are no longer used as reefs.
Today little remains, her wooden ribbing rises from the sandy bottom, planking and scattered wreckage, are spread around the site, mostly buried in the sand. There is one section that provides 15-20 ft of relief, covered in anemones and hydroids. Some lobster, and cunner. Visibility is standard for the area, ranging from 20 - 40 ft.
Hay's Tug & Launch, GDF, Jersey Fresh Seafood Festival
Sunday June 9, 1995
Built in 1925, by the Bethlehem Steel Company Incorporated of Wilmington, Delaware ( hull #3497 ) as the Stroudsburg for the Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad of Lackawanna, New Jersey. The tug was later sold, where she was renamed as the Breton, then as the Seminole, and then as the Brigitte Harper. In 1962, the tug was repowered with a Fairbank-Morse 38D diesel engine, for a rated 1,800 horsepower. Later acquired by the Hay's Tug and Launch Company of Wallingford, Pennsylvania and renamed Big Mama.
Coors Brewing Company, US Army, Artificial Reef Association, Sportfish Fund, US Customs Service
Friday June 10, 1994
The Blue Crown was seized for drug smuggling in 1991 in one of the biggest drug busts in U.S. history - over 11,000 pounds of cocaine. She became a liability to the government when she sank at the dock, and so was given to the Artificial Reef Program.
PANAMANIAN FREIGHTER SEIZED IN COCAINE SMUGGLING CASE
From Wire and Staff Reports | Jul 28, 1991
Federal agents seized a Panamanian-flag containership and arrested its captain and eight crew members, who were charged with unloading more than five tons of cocaine to a fishing vessel this week, authorities said last week. The cocaine and the fishing boat were seized July 21 off Long Island, N.Y. Investigators believe the shipment was the first joint operation between New York's organized crime syndicate and Colombian drug lords in the Cali cartel.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Maloney said the so-called "mother ship," a freighter named the Blue Crown, was seized early Wednesday in the Delaware Bay off New Jersey. Federal agents determined through nautical records and other evidence, including a paint streak on its side, that the Blue Crown was the ship used to transfer cocaine to the fishing boat. The Blue Crown sailed from Venezuela July 2.
( The name Blue Crown, does not appear in the 1991-92 edition of Lloyd's Register of Ships, an authoritative listing of all ships in the world. Both Lloyd's Register of Shipping in London, which publishes the directory, and Lloyd's of London Press, said Friday they had no information on a ship with that name. )
One of the fishing boat owners, who is facing drug charges stemming from the earlier seizure, was reported to be associated with the Gambino crime family allegedly headed by John Gotti. However, Mr. Maloney said he had "no evidence at all" that Mr. Gotti was connected with the shipment, which, at more than 10,770 pounds, was said to be the largest ever seized in the New York area.
The crew members, including the ship's Sudanese captain, were recruited in Colombia, Mr. Maloney said. They were to be arraigned in Camden, N.J. The defendants face life sentences and fines of $4 million each if convicted of drug charges.
Building Better Reefs
Story and Photos by SSgt. Zeke Allen and 1st Lt. Gary Sheftick
With one fiery bang the Army capped a victory in the drug war, helped save marine life and boosted a community's fishing and tourism industries. The explosion, which sank the Panamanian-registered freighter Blue Crown, was the finale of the third-largest drug bust in U.S. history. The Coast Guard and U.S. Customs officials seized more than 10,771 pounds of cocaine following a wild two-day chase in 1991. Officials found the cocaine hidden in boxes marked "fresh fish."
This summer, Army tugboats towed the freighter to a site 12 miles east of Atlantic City, N.J., where it was sunk in 95 feet of water to form an artificial reef. The New Jersey reef was created close to shore for use by sports fishermen and divers, but deep enough to allow navigation by deep-water ships. Creating artificial reefs is one way to capitalize on fewer training dollars while gaining valuable experience for the 97th Army Reserve Command's 949th Transportation Company, based in Curtis Bay, Md.
"We don't usually tow ships, " said Maj. David Maas, referring to his unit's training missions. Maas, the unit's commander, said training normally means towing barges. However, in war they would tow ocean-going ships and salvage damaged vessels. The 949th's tugboats towed the 220-foot Blue Crown from Philadelphia to Atlantic City. But before the journey, the freighter was cleaned and drained of petroleum products at a shipyard near Philadelphia. A Coors Brewery $10,000 donation and a New Jersey Reef Program $6,500 donation helped render the Blue Crown environmentally safe.
At the reef site, New Jersey state police and the Atlantic City bomb squad placed plastic explosives below the freighter's waterline. A fireball plumed into the sky as the explosives were detonated. "I guess that's what you would call the climax of my career -- the drugs seized, two men in jail, the ship at the bottom of the ocean, " said retired U.S. Customs Special Agent Bill Braker as he watched the freighter's bow slip underwater. Braker had been in charge of the case.
After the ship disappeared, six members of the 949th's diving section jumped from UH-1H helicopters into the blue water. They had been tasked to map how the freighter settled onto the ocean's floor, and to note hazards to recreational divers. When the men entered the water they began another training related mission -- harbor clearance. "If there's a wreck in the harbor, we have to find out how deep it is, and how it's positioned, " said Maas, whose diving unit is one of two in the Army Reserve. "They could also assist in removing or blowing it up, if it's a hazard."
Explaining the importance to the Army of units like the 949th, the 97th's commander, Maj. Gen. George Kundahl, said the Army welcomes missions that provide worthwhile training while benefiting the community and the environment. The projects were examples of "public and governmental cooperation ... with a minimum of investment from the taxpayer, " said William Figley, New Jersey Artificial Reef Program manager.
Atlantic County Reef Society, Fish America, 1000 Fathom Club
Tuesday July 17, 1990
Built in 1949, by Levingston Shipyard of Orange, Texas ( hull #444 ) as the Carol Moran for the Moran Towing Company of New York, New York. The tug was the fourth of series of five Grace Moran class tugs designed by naval architect Joe Hack, often referred to as "Moran's Cadillacs." ( See Georgia Moran and King's Point. ) She was powered by a single Cleveland 16-278A diesel electric engine. She was a single screw tug, rated at 1,750 horsepower. In 1987 the tug suffered a fire, and was donated to New Jersey to be used as an artificial reef.
This former Navy YO ( Yard Oiler ) was built in 1944 at by Ira S. Bushey company in Brooklyn New York. She later served commercially for K-Sea and Eklof companies. Too bad these pretty colors are all overgrown with anemones now. Jet Trader is a twin to "Helis".
Notice the large concrete block on the bow in the first shot, and not in the second. Anchors this big are expensive ! It is probably an old buoy mooring.
Jet Trader plied the Hudson River for many years, and there are quite a few photos of her
The vessel was sunk by a Navy demolitions team from Earle Naval Weapons Station
The Morania Abaco sits upright on a sandy bottom looming of the sea floor, looking like the classic "made for TV" shipwreck. Penetration is easy. Two levels of her pilot house were removed before sinking, as was her engine. Fish abound, and lobster can be found in her lower compartments. Visibility is typical for the area, ranging from 20 to 50 ft. When water is clearer in August and September, she's a good photography wreck.
Most of the material is heavy 3" diameter armored trans-Atlantic telephone cable; some is lighter 3/4 " cable. Each site contains over 100 miles. The heavy cable eventually sinks into the bottom, but makes excellent fish habitat until it does. Such cable has also been used with great success in Maryland, but has been effectively outlawed in New Jersey by
Clean Ocean Action.
Fish swarm over tangles of heavy cable
A blackfish shelters in a knot of cable
Diver swims over recently-deposited thin cable, 5/31/05
Built in 1954 by the Calumet Shipyard and Dry Dock Company of Chicago, Illinois ( hull #220 ) as the Sharon Lee, for the A.L. Mechling Barge Lines of Joliet, Illinois. In 1967, the tug was acquired by the Gulf Atlantic Towing Company of Lafayette, Louisiana, a subsidiary of Brusco Tug and Barge Incorporated of Longview, Washington.
In 1972, she was acquired by the Allied Transportation Company of Norfolk, Virginia. Where the tug was renamed Heron. In 1994, the tug was acquired by the Providence Steamboat Company of Providence, Rhode Island. In 1994, she was acquired by Robbins Maritime Incorporated of Norfolk, Virginia and renamed Bay Prince. In 1999, the tug was acquired by the Blaha Towing Company of Suffolk, Virginia and renamed Tobacco Pointe.
Towed in tandem with the dredge barge Ohio from Norfolk Virginia, the Richard Reina served as the platform for the crew to prepare and deploy the Ohio on the Ocean City reef on the morning of June 16, 2016. Justin then towed the Richard Reina north to the Atlantic City Reef.
Tobacco Pointe - New Jersey Scuba DivingAnother video from NJScuba.net -- Tobacco Pointe - New Jersey Scuba Diving
Sunk by knocking out "soft patches" installed in the hull, using a sledgehammer.
Joe Williams, Ocean City Marlin & Tuna Club, Atlantic County Party & Charter Boat Association
Friday April 27, 1990
The canal tug Troy sank in Absecon Inlet in 1979. It was eventually raised, but never repaired, hence the decrepit appearance.
As Matton (top) and Kathleen Turecamo, with distinctive Turecamo woodgrain paint job ( see Matt Turecamo )
Built in 1954, by Matton Shipyard of Cohoes, New York (hull #322) as the Matton for the Matton Shipyard Company. When Turecamo acquired the shipyard, the tug was renamed Kathleen Turecamo. The tug was later sold and renamed Troy, scrapped in 1990.
I make no claim as to the accuracy, validity, or appropriateness of any information found in this website. I will not be responsible for the consequences of any action that is based upon information found here. Scuba diving is an adventure sport, and as always, you alone are responsible for your own safety and well being.