It is always an issue with old navy ships. What to do with them when they can no longer ‘remain in service’? When their technical qualities do not suffice?
Some privileged ships get transformed into museums; some get simply hidden from the eyes of the public and become deserted ghost ships that gather rust. The USS Kittiwake has a different destiny ahead. And it is nobler than one would have expected. USS Kittiwake is to become an underwater attraction and more importantly, and artificial reef in the waters of the Cayman Islands.
The USS Kittiwake has not been in use for several years now. The vessel was officially launched in 1945 and it was cruising the international waters for several decades, supporting mostly submarines in the Atlantic.
Before the battleship is sunk, toxic materials need to be removed from it. However, as many scientists point out, its intricate structure will most certainly create a very welcoming environment for diverse schools of fish.
Also, the sunken vessel will very soon turn into a very interesting dive site. Following the trail of historical ships resting on the sea bed is a very appealing activity for thousands of tourists, who are attracted by the crystal clear Caribbean waters, where the visibility is exceptional and the choice of sites extraordinary.
After it is deemed safe for USS Kittiwake to descend on the ocean bed, it will be a first artificial reef of its kind. The keen divers may expect to see the official ‘ceremony’ possibly in June 2009.