Friday, February 3, 2017


3 February 2017: Wow! Hard to believe it's February already! Spring and summer will be on us before we know it! (Not a bad thing!). Our subject today deals with the sinking of a retired cargo ship, SS Kraken, off the port of Galveston, Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. Interesting to us here at Maritime Maunder, as from where I am sitting, about 200 meters off the beach is a sunken former US Navy ship which was put down to create not only a fish habitat but also a very popular dive site. It was the (formerly) USS Kitiwake and many of us sat on the beach or hovered nearby in our boats and watched her go down.... a sad spectacle indeed, but not one that many get to witness. Perhaps we'll offer that subject in a future post. 

So today's offering comes to us through the good offices of gCaptain, an online site for maritime news. Thanks to Mike Schuler for this interesting item.

"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 re-purposed for its new life as an artificial reef.

gone but not forgotten!

"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.”"

Here's a short video of the actual sinking: 

click here: 

Note the hatch cover which someone forgot to secure before the ship went down!

My only comment on this addition to the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem is this: Kraken is intended to be a dive site, but it is 67 miles off shore and over 140 feet deep. Diving this one is not for the novice diver. Most sport diving is limited to 100-120 feet, and without the option of a "live-aboard" dive boat, Kraken would not be a day trip dive site. I suspect for those who do get out there, it will be a fascinating dive experience.

Until next time,

                                 Fair Winds,
                                       Old Salt

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