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New Jersey Scuba Diving

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New Jersey Scuba Diving

I'm looking for recent dive/fishing reports of the Radford. If you've been there in the last year or two, I'd like to hear what you found. In particular, where is the stern now? I can find no reports since 2012.

Maurice Tracy

Barnegat Chart

Shipwreck Maurice Tracy

Type:
shipwreck, collier, USA
Built:
1916, Ashtabula OH USA, as Nordstrand, later Sekstant
Specs:
( 253 x 43 ft ) 2468 gross tons
Sunk:
Saturday June 17, 1944
collision with freighter Jesse Billingsley - no casualties
Depth:
70 ft

Victim of one of the many wartime collisions, the Maurice Tracy is today a scattered debris field of flattened hull plates and larger pieces, although not as thoroughly demolished as many other wartime wrecks.

The stern of the Tracy is the highest part, with the curve of the fantail still evident. Referring to the picture above, the pilot house is still partially intact, and almost upright, as is the platform for the deck gun, at the extreme rear of the vessel. Between the deck gun and the pilot house is a great deal of semi-collapsed wreckage, with many spaces large enough to squeeze inside of, and inhabited by Blackfish and lobsters. Just aft of the pilot house are the twin boilers, side by side and very large, with open ends.

Forward of the pilot house the wreckage is low-lying, scattered and discontinuous. The debris field is very large, and striking out over the sand ( using a wreck reel ! ) can yield interesting results. The bow probably represents the largest piece here, but there really isn't very much to it. Lobsters especially are more likely to be found in the outlying chunks than in the heavily fished main wreckage. Artifact hunters should look elsewhere - no brass here.

Shipwreck Maurice Tracy

The bottom is clean and sandy, and there is a great deal of sea life around this wreck. I saw some very large lobsters get taken, skates, and the biggest Conger Eel I have ever seen inside one of the boilers. Unfortunately, conditions at this near-shore site are very hit and miss; currents, surge, and visibility vary considerably.

Shipwreck Maurice Tracy
The superstructure

Shipwreck Maurice Tracy
The gun mount in the stern, now tipped over on its side.
The gun itself has long since fallen off and been carted away.

Shipwreck Maurice Tracy
Launch of the partially complete Nordstrand

Jesse Billingsley
Liberty Ship Jesse Billingsley after the war as Laguna
441' x 56', 10,800 tons, 11 kts, scrapped 1969


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