Ship From ‘Perfect Storm’ Remains Unsinkable


EPA is still waiting to see if the Tamaroa is free from contaminants before adding it to artificial reef off New Jersey.

The Coast Guard cutter that helped rescue seven people during “The Perfect Storm” has still not been cleared by federal environment officials to be sunk off the New Jersey coast.

Delaware officials had wanted to add the Tamaroa to an artificial reef it shares with New Jersey before the end of 2016, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is still waiting for lab results to see if the storied ship is free from cancer-causing PCBs, an agency spokesman said.

The reef attracts large game fish and is a boon to diving and the Garden State’s $1.7 billion recreational fishing industry.

The sinking has been highly anticipated among many current and retired service members ever since news of the Tamaroa’s fate broke in October.  The ship became famous in 1991 when its crew conducted two rescue missions during a storm that produced 40-foot waves and 70 mph wind gusts off the New England coast.  Their heroics were documented years later in the book and film “The Perfect Storm,” starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg.

The 73-year-old ship, which served in World War II as the USS Zuni, had been undergoing an extensive cleanup at a shipyard in Norfolk, Va., in preparation for the sinking.  That involves removing all hazardous material, including PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls.  Once the most widely used chemicals in electrical equipment, PCBs were banned in 1979 when they were found to cause cancer and other serious ailments.

David Sternberg, an EPA spokesman, said the agency is waiting for lab reports from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to see if there is still contamination.  The EPA would then inspect the ship onsite.  “Once given the OK from EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard, Delaware and New Jersey will be able to proceed with the sinking,” Sternberg said.

Delaware officials had wanted to sink the ship in mid-November, which would have coincided with the 25th anniversary of “The Perfect Storm.”

Even if the Tamaroa was declared “good to go” immediately by EPA, the sinking would still be pushed off until late spring to avoid rough winter weather and choppy seas, said Michael Globetti, a spokesman for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

The Tamaroa began its life as the Zuni, towing crippled U.S. warships across the war-torn Pacific.  It was assigned to the Coast Guard after the war where it served for decades in search-and-rescue missions along the East Coast, among other duties.

In October 1991, three weather systems slammed into each other creating one of the worst maritime storms in New England history.  The crew of the Tamaroa helped save three people on a sailboat before rescuing four of five crewmen of an Air National Guard helicopter that had to be ditched in the ocean when it ran out of fuel during a similar rescue mission.

The ship gained fame when its exploits were documented in Sebastian Junger’s 1997 book, “The Perfect Storm,” and three years later in the film.

The Tamaroa was decommissioned in 1994.  A decade-long effort by a group of veterans to restore the ship ended when the its hull sprung a significant leak in 2012, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

Delaware and New Jersey bought the ship for about $300,000, much of it raised through non-profit groups.  It will be added to the Del-Jersey-Land Reef about 25 miles south of Cape May Point.  It will lay about 120 feet below the surface near the Navy destroyer USS Arthur W. Radford, which was sunk in 2011.

Disclaimer: This video is intended for informational purpose only.  This may not be construed as a news item or advice of any sort.  Please consult the experts in that field for the authenticity of the presentations.

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Source: North Jersey News


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