A 371-ft cargo vessel named Kraken has been scuttled off Galveston, Texas to create a new artificial reef for fishermen and divers in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Artificial Reef Program sank the ship on January 20, 2017 approximately 67 miles off the coast.
The Kragen now lies at depth of about 140 feet. Over time it will become an artificial reef that attracts fish, coral and other marine species as well as divers and anglers. The Kraken’s proximity to the Flower Gardens Marine Sanctuary also makes it a premiere dive location in the Gulf of Mexico.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says before the sinking it worked with contractors at Cahaba Disaster Recovery to remove all fuel, oil and hazardous materials from the vessel in order to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s best management practices. The ship began its journey in May 2016 when it was towed from Trinidad to Brownsville, Texas to be repurposed for its new life as an artificial reef.
As an Artificial Reef Program Ships-to-Reefs project, the sinking of the Kraken was made possible by donations and funds from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill natural resource damage settlement.
“The entire marine ecosystem benefits from artificial reef projects like the Kraken,” said TPWD Artificial Reef Program Leader J. Dale Shively. “The Gulf of Mexico has only a few naturally occurring reefs so whenever we are able to add a new structure like this, the whole area benefits from the added habitat and species diversity.”
The Dept. said the ship took one hour to sink from the time they opened the valves, but below is a shortened video with the highlights: