Ex-Navy destroyer now East Coast artificial reef

August 10, 2011 - 7:00 PM
Warship Reef

In this photo provided by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the decommissioned destroyer USS Radford is towed down the Delaware River shipping channel between Delaware's and New Jersey's coasts on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011. State officials say the Radford is scheduled to be sunk tomorrow as an artificial reef in the Atlantic about 26 miles off the coasts of Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. They say the former destroyer, was cleaned and prepared for sinking at a Philadelphia shipyard. (AP Photo/Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Gary Cooke)

ABOARD THE MV DELAWARE (AP) — A former Navy destroyer now has a new purpose as an artificial reef off the East Coast.

 Officials say the 563-foot Arthur W. Radford is the longest vessel ever sunk as an artificial reef in the Atlantic Ocean.

It went down late Wednesday afternoon to a resting spot in the Del-Jersey-Land reef created by the states of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. It's about 26 miles off the Indian River Inlet in Delaware; Ocean City, Md., and Cape May, N.J.

 The ship was retired in 2003 after 26 years of use by the Navy.

 It joins other manmade items in that part of the Atlantic, including old New York City subway cars. The submerged objects create habitats for sea life and new opportunities for deep-sea anglers and scuba divers.