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WWII ship to be sunk off Delaware coast Wednesday

James Morrison
Delaware Public Media
Tamaroa at dock in Norfolk, Virginia

Delaware is sinking an historic WWII ship off the coast of Fenwick Island Wednesday to create a new home for sea life. 


The Tamaroa is a 200 foot steel tug boat that sailed to the beaches of Iwo Jima in WWII and spent the decades after rescuing people for the Coast Guard.


Wednesday afternoon the vessel will reach its final resting place at the bottom of the Atlantic, 26 miles east of Fenwick Island.


Tim Mullane of Colleen Marine has been preparing the ship for months and will sink it by cutting holes in the hull and slowly flooding it with water.


He calls it’s suspenseful in those final moments before the ship goes down.


“For me it’s kind of like waiting to have a child born, except the opposite, since the ship’s going on to its next life,” he said. 


The Tamaroa’s next life will be as part of an artificial reef made of other old ships and even some New York subway cars.


Delaware co-manages many of these reefs with Maryland and New Jersey.


They provide structure for invertebrates and shelter for fish on the sandy seafloor, which boosts ecosystems and fishing.


"It’s a good ending for a ship with a rich history," Mullane said. 


In January, Delaware Public Media's James Morrison told the Tamaroa's story in a piece for Chesapeake: a Journalism Collaborative.  You can read the story here or listen below:


Delaware Public Media's James Morrison reports on the Zuni-Tamaroa's future as an artificial reef for Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative.

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