Training Ship Texas Clipper – A Sinking Embarrassment

Texas Clipper Sinking

With over nine years of planning completed Texas A&M‘s training ship the Texas Clipper was prepared to start her new life as an artificial reef. Texas Parks and Wildlife writes; “A small armada of boats carried curious visitors to the site as officials from the USCG and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service observed the reefing. A helicopter hovered overhead to capture an aerial view of the event for the media and those who could not venture onto the Gulf waters. A number of former crew members of the ship made it through the rough seas aboard chartered and private vessels to witness the transition to her fourth and final life as home to sea life and a destination for divers and anglers.”

Only there was a problem…

Today’s Houston Chronicle tells us;

Training Ship Texas ClipperA World War II ship purposely sunk in the Gulf of Mexico to create an artificial reef has tipped onto its side, blocking access to the interior for fish and divers.

The sinking capped years of problems, including an unplanned sinking near Beaumont and a $600,000 cleanup of hazardous chemicals.

State officials were hoping the Clipper would become a destination for divers and boost local tourism by an estimated $30 million per year. It was meant to stand upright so divers and fish could explore the 80-foot high, 473-foot long ship by swimming through decks and cabins.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department spokesman Aaron Reed said it was unclear what caused the ship to tip. The sinking of the ship has already cost the state about $4 million.

Tim O’Leary, owner of a dive shop on the coast, had expected the wreck to keep his business busy into December. But the ship is on its side now, more suited for skilled cave divers. Continue Reading…

Links:

Sea-Fever has Video footage of the Texas Clipper Sinking

Texas Clipper Ship Project Homepage

Texas Clipper – Online Tour

Ships2Reefs Program