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   Undertoad  Thursday Jun 8 02:35 PM

6/8/2006: Sinking of the USS Oriskany



When you have a massive aircraft carrier that nobody wants,any longer, the modern thing to do is to sink it to form an artificial reef. That's what they did on May 17th of this year, 24 miles off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.

A lot of you - four, actually - sent me to this page which documents the sinking, with 25 really amazing high-resolution photos. Shortly thereafter that site blew out its bandwidth bill and went down. It's back up now but I have copies of the 25 shots in case it does again.



I recommend checking it out if you have the bandwidth yourself - the shots are amazing. I've sized six of them down to 800-wide for our purposes here.



According to the page, the small boat on the deck of carrier contains a generator and electronics to set off the explosions. It was designed so this small boat would float free after the carrier sunk!








glatt  Thursday Jun 8 02:58 PM

In the high-res originals, you can see the fiberglass panels from the radar dome floating in the water briefly afterwards. Like little eggshell boats.



Kitsune  Thursday Jun 8 03:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad
According to the page, the small boat on the deck of carrier contains a generator and electronics to set off the explosions. It was designed so this small boat would float free after the carrier sunk!
Huh. Wasn't there something about bubbles from a sinking boat causing other craft to also sink? (this was busted on Mythbusters, wasn't it?)


barefoot serpent  Thursday Jun 8 03:12 PM

here's a couple of pages of The Oriskany in action off of 'Nam.

http://members.tripod.com/~ffhiker/index-2.html

http://www.fortunecity.com/boozers/whitehorse/506/



Dypok  Thursday Jun 8 04:00 PM

3...2...Has anyone seen my wallet?...BOOOMMM!



capnhowdy  Thursday Jun 8 04:11 PM

I always wondered why someone wouldn't take old carriers and other crafts and make offshore resorts, casinos, etc. out of them. Maybe even an offshore hotel. Hell, I'd love to have one to live on maybe. Seems like a waste to me even though I know the marine wildlife can use the cover.

Great topic..... really good pics.



Ike_is_my_Cat  Thursday Jun 8 04:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsune
Huh. Wasn't there something about bubbles from a sinking boat causing other craft to also sink? (this was busted on Mythbusters, wasn't it?)
the mythbusters myth was that the force of the sinking ship would pull you down with it in the "giant vacuum" caused by the sheer power of the sinking ship-- it did not pull a thing down.


Pancake Man  Thursday Jun 8 04:28 PM

I'm sure that Bill Gates would have liked this one for his private fleet.



tw  Thursday Jun 8 04:54 PM

The 30,800 ton Oriskany was started in early 1940s, finally completed in the 1950s, and eventually striken from the mothball fleet in 1980s. It was supposed to be scrapped in mid 1990s when a contractor defaulted. Navy eventually was able to remove enough PCBs and asbestos to make it a tourist site some 200 feet down. Always wondered if this was a solution to a ship that was too toxic.

Meanwhile the French also tried to scrap their 27,000 ton carrier Clemenceau in mid 1990s. First a Spanish company was supposed to disassemble it. But due to toxic waste problems, that contract later fell upon an Indian company. Problems even getting the carrier through Suez Canal eventually brought it back to France. This too might become a reef. But again, first there is this problem with a ship chock full of toxic waste materials. Making 200 foot deep tourist sites is an interesting concept. But can they really be made toxic free - and safe enough for tourists?



Kagen4o4  Thursday Jun 8 06:08 PM

that would be a great thing to watch



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jun 8 06:14 PM

Quote:
But again, first there is this problem with a ship chock full of toxic waste materials. Making 200 foot deep tourist sites is an interesting concept. But can they really be made toxic free - and safe enough for tourists?
Yes, this one cost $20 million to prepare.

btw...This was the ship McCain flew off when he was shot down in Viet Nam.


Undertoad  Thursday Jun 8 09:30 PM

I should give thanks to wolf in preparing these, she had the images after the other site went down.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jun 8 09:50 PM

Me too.



Undertoad  Thursday Jun 8 10:01 PM

And xoB. (Yours is top of the queue for tomorrow if I remember correctly)



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jun 8 10:43 PM

I'm just saying I saved them too. Wolf was the one smart enough to send the pictures instead of the link.



mickja1  Friday Jun 9 11:23 AM

A few thoughts from a retired Navy officer. First, the reason they don't keep these older ships and use them for casinos, hotels, etc. is that they take a tremendous amount of maintenance just to keep them floating, on the order of $20-30,000 a year on up, considering their condition. It is easier to build a new ship from the keel up than to renovate a warship like this.

Also, the idea that a ship 200' down is going to be a tourist site is nuts. Even professional wreck divers that dive more than about 150' are really pushing it.

The government probably spent several million dollars (around 15 million) getting this ship ready to be sunk. All the fuel tanks need to be emptied and sealed, the wiring (several hundred miles of wiring) needed to be removed (the insulation is toxic to the environment) for starters. The main reason to sink it is that the shipbreaking process is so expensive in the U.S.

A great book that covers this subject in depth is "The Outlaw Sea" by William Langewiesche (now available in paperback)--*truly fascinating*. The shipbreakers are typically third world businessmen who take the ship and drive it aground, then start cutting it apart with blowtorches. It takes several months to dismantle a ship. Usually there are casualties. The poor people go to work walking around iron shards in bare feet. Occasionally someone cuts into a fuel tank that still has diesel vapor, and a large explosion results. Greenpeace types would have a stroke if they saw their utter disregard for any type of respect for the environment.

Well that's my 2c.



milkfish  Friday Jun 9 12:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickja1
First, the reason they don't keep these older ships and use them for casinos, hotels, etc. is that they take a tremendous amount of maintenance just to keep them floating, on the order of $20-30,000 a year on up, considering their condition.
Aw, heck, why didn't they just ask their buddies over at the Air Force to fill the thing up with foam?


lawman  Friday Jun 9 01:17 PM

I was also wondering why they sank it in 212 feet of water if it were to be used as a dive site. I checked on this carriers dimensions, and it has a height of 129 feet, so the top of the conning tower (were it to rest vertically - which it won't) would be within reach of recreational divers. I would surmize that they really didn't want it to be a wreck dive destination, where divers could enter it, but merely something divers could see clearly at depth.



glatt  Friday Jun 9 01:59 PM

This page, which has ads in the margin that are NSFW, has some images of divers around the tower checking it out. It landed right side up.



wolf  Friday Jun 9 08:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad
I should give thanks to wolf in preparing these, she had the images after the other site went down.
My boss had the series on his rotating pictures screensaver and emailed them to me after I had a WOW COOL moment at him.


tw  Friday Jun 9 08:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce
btw...This was the ship McCain flew off when he was shot down in Viet Nam.
Previous to that, McCain's plane (in cooperation with rockets from another plane) all but tried to sink the USS Forrestal.

Meanwhile, those who taugh me scuba diving also so 200 foot dives. Some of those dive include the Texas Tower located on the continential edge. Tower itself is over 200 feet down. But its deck rises to something like 180 feet. Problem is water so dirty there that diving is by feel.

Another problem with sunken wrecks - they must be modified so as to not trap a scuba diver.


wolf  Friday Jun 9 08:26 PM

Can't they just spray paint "dive at your own risk" on the side before they sink it?



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Jun 9 10:50 PM

I understand the dive tourist thing is secondary to the artificial reef for fishing.
Probably the divers would be in more danger from whizzing lures, dangling multiple treble hooks than from the ship.



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