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lew

Warships, planes & tin cans

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I'm sure alot of you have seen shows on the tube where they take old Canadian warships, even worn out commercial airplanes, and sink them in the ocean to be used as artificial reefs, new habitat for fish and something new for scuba divers to explore.

 

I also saw another show where they took a 1000' American carrier and sunk it off Florida.

 

Being ex-Navy myself, I kinda like the fact that their giving new life & meaning to old worn out ships, rather that turning them into razor blades. Infact, my old ship from the 60's, H.M.C.S. Annapolis is being prepared as we speak to be sunk off the B.C. coast.

 

I watched another show yesterday where the Canadian Navy used another retired destroyer, H.M.C.S. Huron, for target practice and sunk her and it got me to thinking.

 

We all think it's absolutely disgusting, including me, and we often see posts on this board about the filthy slobs who throw their garbage in the water. Pops can, Timmies cups, worm boxes and just about anything else that some people are too lazy to carry to a garbage can.

 

I'm not really going anywhere with this post but seeing that show yesterday just got me to thinking about how we percieve things differentely. We can take ships that are 100's of feet long, weighing 1000's of tons and sink them in the ocean and people think it's a good thing, but when we see somebody toss a COKE can in the drink, we want him drawn & quartered and fined for being such a slob...which he is.

 

As I said, I'm not really going anywhere with this thread and just kinda thinking out loud, but it does seem kinda strange.........doncha think ?? :blush:

 

Is a COKE can tossed in the water any worse than a 40,000 ton steel ship ??

 

Any thoughts ??

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Lew, here is a dumping that went totally wrong off Florida. I also wonder how much damage and animal is life killed when one of these monsters settles on the bottom.

 

ROWARD COUNTY, Florida -- In the 1970s, nearly 2 million tires were tossed into the ocean in hopes of creating an artificial reef. Now, a study is under way to see if the tires can be removed since they are actually damaging the coral reefs.

 

The Broward County Environmental Protection Department is partnering with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Navy Salvage Divers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program, to conduct a pilot project to remove the waste tires from the coast.

 

The tires cover 36 acres of the Osborne Reef off Broward County. The reef is 7,000 feet offshore of Sunrise Boulevard at a depth of 65 feet.

 

Osborne Reef is an artificial reef made out of concrete jacks arranged in a 50-foot diameter circle surrounded by the extensive tire field.

 

The pilot project will collect sample tires to determine how the tires can be collected and disposed of properly.

 

The Navy, along with the U.S. Army, will also conduct a feasibility analysis to determine how the cleanup of the tire pile could serve as a training opportunity for military divers and watercraft operations.

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I watched that show last night (second time) as well Lew. I found it interesting and yet sad at the same time. I felt for the crew of the H.M.C.S. Algonquin noting that they sunk her sister ship the decomishioned H.M.C.S. Huron with her own retrofitted gun. But I'm not convinced it's the best use of (what sadly became) scrap steel. On the upside it was sunk by the Canadians. :D

 

I do know that once these ships settle on the bottom they do in time become part of the marine enviroment, providing habitat and shelter to a wide variety of marine life unlike smaller discarded trash which is at the mercy of the ocean currents, thus never become a stable part of the marine enviroment.

 

Huron sinks after barrage from HMCS Algonquin

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It may not be the most efficient used of scrap metal, but there is the hope of an economic spinoff from these artificial reefs by attracting diver/tourism dollars.

At least these reefs were planned out in, hopefully a non harmful manner. We already have a number of man made reefs composed of armaments, tires, military surplus, etc... off our freshwater and saltwater shores.

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Bigugli - The vast majority of ex-military stuff is sunk in pretty deep water, intentionally out of the reach of recreational divers, and thus less of a potential liability to those who sunk it.

 

Kickingfrog - It's not just NYC. The beautiful city of Victoria, BC, does not have a sewage treatment plant. The city's sewage goes directly - and untreated - into Juan de Fuca Strait. In fact, the 300,000 people who live in Victoria and its suburbs dump 34 million gallons of raw sewage into the ocean every single day. Vancouver dumps raw sewage too. So much for the image of BC being full of hard-core environmentalists.

 

Lew - sinking an old military ship definitely has an effect on the environment. But so does cutting it up for scrap. At the end of the day, does it do less damage to sink it, or generate x-amount of energy (and pollution) to cut it up? And, will it cost more to cut it up than it's worth as scrap metal? I suspect the answer varies on a case-by-case basis, which may be why some vessels are sunk and others are not.

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At least with these planned sinkings (blowing them up real good), everything that impacts the environment in a negative way gets pulled off of the ship, basically it's a steel hulk that gets sunk and makes a new reef for aquatic life. I watched that last night too and it was pretty cool watching the 20mm's peppering the ship, if anyone was aboard, they'd be in real trouble. It was actually kind of disturbing to see the first frigate have issues first with their gun then their missile battery, what if this were real, we'd have a ship on the bottom and a dead crew because of technical glitches, jammed guns and missiles that don't fire when they are supposed to.

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Bigugli - The vast majority of ex-military stuff is sunk in pretty deep water, intentionally out of the reach of recreational divers, and thus less of a potential liability to those who sunk it.

 

Most of the stuff dumped was post WWII back when nobody knew there were consequences in later years. Just think of the problems the Dutch and Danes have in the North Sea with all the chemical weapons stockpiles dumped there. There is a lot of ordnance dumped off our East coast. Once in a while it gets caught in a draggers nets. That risk is very real.

Thankfully we were not as bad, but I can place 2 graveyards just in the Bay of Quinte, plus the tire mound.

Risk to the divers is negligible yes. Long term effects to aquatic health and habitat are only just now being realized, let alone human consequence.

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A couple of observations.

 

Sinking the ships as artificial reefs means that they will continue to be used and appreciated for a long time, and with no further upkeep required. It's interesting to see how fast the sealife moves in once they're situated. Before they were deliberately sunk they were quite thoroughly cleaned of oil and grease so as not to add too much contamination to the water around them in their new resting places.

 

As for the pop cans they make excellent hidey holes for little octopi. Responsible divers often pick up human detritus but tend to leave the pop and beer cans and bottles(or at least lift them gently) in case there's a baby octopus inside, and there often is (at least in the Caribbean and off Florida's coast). I seldom have come back from a dive off the eastern coast of Florida without a handful of fishing line.

 

It's actually surprising though how little garbage one sees on the bottom in the ocean, considering the human propensity for littering.

 

JF

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A secret stash for when we blow thru all the easy to get at resources? Plus it will attract fish, give them something to eat while they are try to use tax dollars to recover it!

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The artificial reef/diving destination concept is a good one. Since all hazardous materials are removed from a warship before sinking it, there shouldn't be any downside to the practice.

 

As for the Osborne tire reef, the quote says that the reef originated as an artificial reef of concrete before the tires were added, so I'm puzzling as to how the tires could be damaging natural reef, when apparently there was none before. I've always thought that rubber was pretty stable. I've seen tires that were immersed in water for 30+ years and once you clean the crud off them, they look pretty fresh. But that's in fresh water. Does salt water degrade them, I wonder?

 

I don't know how Victoria still gets away doing what it does. That's pretty shameful in anybody's book.

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The artificial reef/diving destination concept is a good one. Since all hazardous materials are removed from a warship before sinking it, there shouldn't be any downside to the practice.

 

As for the Osborne tire reef, the quote says that the reef originated as an artificial reef of concrete before the tires were added, so I'm puzzling as to how the tires could be damaging natural reef, when apparently there was none before. I've always thought that rubber was pretty stable. I've seen tires that were immersed in water for 30+ years and once you clean the crud off them, they look pretty fresh. But that's in fresh water. Does salt water degrade them, I wonder?

 

I don't know how Victoria still gets away doing what it does. That's pretty shameful in anybody's book.

 

There's a tire reef in L.Erie near Pt.Dover

 

JF

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There's a tire reef in L.Erie near Pt.Dover

 

Any concerns about that one or is it considered to be inert?

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Somebody threw out a tims cup what a prick littering the country side, there it is right under the 600 foot wind turbine.

 

We can all do our bit about the little stupidities. The big ones are harder to fight. ;)

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Most of the stuff dumped was post WWII back when nobody knew there were consequences in later years. Just think of the problems the Dutch and Danes have in the North Sea with all the chemical weapons stockpiles dumped there. There is a lot of ordnance dumped off our East coast. Once in a while it gets caught in a draggers nets. That risk is very real.

Thankfully we were not as bad, but I can place 2 graveyards just in the Bay of Quinte, plus the tire mound.

Risk to the divers is negligible yes. Long term effects to aquatic health and habitat are only just now being realized, let alone human consequence.

 

 

Draggers should be outlawed. It is a very destructive way of fishing.

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