Deepwater reef is not particularly deep, with an average depth of about 120 ft.
Shark River Reef is deeper. Deepwater is, however, the furthest-offshore reef - 23 miles out.
This reef also contains tire units and 50 subway cars, in five groups of ten cars each. A small controversy erupted when it turned out that several of the cars landed near an old shipwreck. The wreck in question was an uncharted "secret" known only to a few captains, and in any case, no harm was done.
Building a reef 23 miles offshore serves no one. It is a 2 hour drive for a typical dive boat, less for a faster fishing boat, but still a tremendous fuel cost. From the total lack of fishing and diving reports, it is clear this reef site is little used, except perhaps by a select few with money to burn. I look at the vessels below, and all I can think is 'what a shame'. They should have been sunk where people will use them, not on some pointless marine ecology experiment far out in the middle of nowhere. This site is not only impractical for fishing and diving - what construction company wants to waste fuel and time hauling material all the way out here?
New Jersey's reef coordinators want to sink big ships and make a big splash. The trouble is, South Jersey has no good place to do that. South Jersey's coastal waters are shallow. The only deep spots within reasonable distance are in the shipping lanes, and you can't build a reef there. This reef lies in the closest open 'hole' you can find, but that simply too far out. New Jersey should live with their geography, and build reefs that the public can use, which for the most part they do. There is no new 'science' here either - reef ecology has been well-studied, and can continue to be studied at other more practical sites. This reef is pure hubris and a waste of limited resources, both money and ships.
I applaud New Jersey's artificial reef program, just not this site. Artificial reef building is a great business that serves everyone ( and the fish ) when it is done right. But siting a reef out where no one will use it is not right.
Built in 1939, by Canulette Shipbuilding Company of Slidell, Louisiana (hull #983) as the Rowen Card for the Card Towing Company of Norfolk, Virginia. In 1940, she was acquired by the United States Navy and designated YN-44 Tamaha. Later redesignated as the YNT-12. In 1947, the tug was returned to the Card Towing Company of Norfolk, Virginia, and renamed Rowen Card.
In 1947, she was acquired by the McAllister Brothers Towing Company of New York, New York, and renamed A.J. McAllister. Repowered in 1960, she was a single screw tug rated at 1,800 horsepower.
BassBarn.com, Ann E Clark Foundation, PSE&G Habitat Restoration Fund
Thursday Sept 5, 2002
Mantank was a water barge
TANKER BECOMES FIRST SHIPWRECK
ON DEEPWATER REEF SITE
October 3, 2002
For more information contact:
Al Ivany at 609-984-1795
Last month, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife's Artificial Reef Program intentionally sank a 224-foot tanker barge. The tanker, now destined to become much-needed marine life habitat, rests on the sea floor of the Deepwater Reef Site located off Ocean City.
"This vessel will create valuable habitat for marine life, and offers to anglers and divers recreational opportunities for generations to come, " said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "In addition to the typical bottom fish such as sea bass, porgy and fluke that inhabit shallow inshore reef sites, the Deepwater Reef will hold species that prefer deep, offshore waters like cod and pollock in the colder months, and bluefish, tuna and sharks in the summer."
The Deepwater Reef is New Jersey's most offshore site and while more than 110 ships and barges have been sunk by the State on 13 of its ocean reef sites since 1984, this was the first vessel sunk here.
Funds to help offset the costs of preparation and towing were provided by Public Service Electric and Gas Company Habitat Restoration Fund, BassBarn.com and the Ann E. Clark Foundation.
The sunken hull will be quickly colonized by fish and more than 150 other species of marine life. By next summer, this thriving marine community will provide new opportunities for anglers and scuba divers. The anticipated lifespan of this wreck is 75 to 100 years.
A tanker barge is a non-motorized barge that carries liquid cargo and is either pushed or pulled by a tug. This tanker barge was originally called "Mantank." It was built in Wilmington, Delaware in 1950 and was first owned by the Exxon Company. Its initial cargoes were petroleum and vegetable oil. Its final owner, K-Sea Transportation Corporation of Staten Island, donated the vessel to the State's Reef Program.
For over 10 years, the company used the tanker to deliver drinking water to ships in port, with the most notable customer being the Queen Elizabeth II. Since the Mantank had no engines or fuel tanks and carried clean water, it was relatively simple to prepare for sinking. Cleaning consisted of removing a pump, deck tank and small amount of floatable debris. It was then certified by the U.S. Coast Guard as acceptable for sinking as an ocean reef.
The vessel was towed by the tug "Taurus" from its berth in Staten Island to the Deepwater Reef, located 23 nautical miles offshore of Ocean City -- a trip that took more than 16 hours. Once anchored in position, four 6-inch valves were opened to allow for sinking. The tanker took 85 minutes to sink in water 120 feet deep.
Cape May County Party & Charter Boat Association, PSE&G Habitat Restoration Fund, friends of Walt Hendee, Ann E. Clark Foundation
Thursday Sept 5, 2002
AOG-33 Ochlockonee ( A river that flows through Georgia and Florida )
Class-ship Mettawee AOG-17
Displacement: 846 tons (light) 2,270 tons (full load )
Length: 220' 6"
Speed: 10 kts.
Armament: 1 x 3"/50 dual purpose, 2 x 40mm, 3 x 20mm
Cargo Capacity: 1,228 DWT
Propulsion: diesel direct drive, single screw, 720hp
The USS Ochlockonee was a Mettawee-Class gasoline tanker. She was formerly MC Hull 1530, and was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract 18 October 1944 by East Coast Shipyard, Inc., Bayonne, New Jersey; launched 19 November 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Albert Robinette; acquired by the Navy 18 December 1944; and commissioned 29 December 1944 with a Coast Guard crew, Lt. Arthur W. Walker, USCG, in command.
A sister in camouflage paint. For such small transports, these little ships bristled with guns.
Following shakedown in the Chesapeake Bay, Ochlockonee departed Norfolk 15 February 1945 for Hawaii via Aruba, the Panama Canal, and San Diego, arriving 14 April. Operating out of Pearl Harbor for the remainder of the war, Ochlockonee made fueling runs among the Hawaiians and to Johnston and Canton Islands.
She decommissioned at San Pedro, Calif., 14 January 1946, and was struck from the Navy List 7 February. Returned to the Maritime Administration on 21 June and sold for commercial service. Owned by various companies including Texaco Oil Company which renamed her Texaco No. 10. Later renamed Vincent Tibbetts. Laid up in 2001. Final disposition: sunk as an artificial reef, September 5 2002, off the New Jersey coast.
-- from Coast Guard and Navy historical records
Yet another sister, with even wilder paint
Vincent Tibbetts aground in Maine, 1977
With no need of a gun platform or accommodations for the extra crew, the stern was cut down for civilian use. She also appears to have been lengthened.
The AOG designation stands for Auxiliary Oiler Gasoline. These were ocean going vessels, as opposed to YO's (Yard Oiler) which were similar but smaller harbor support craft. The Mettawee-class gasoline tanker was the smallest AOG at 221 feet, but it was the largest class of this important type of vessel. These little ships covered every front of the war from the South Pacific to Alaska, and also served in the Atlantic. After the war many were transferred to the merchant fleet.
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.