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Release No: 259-04
April 05, 2004

First Obsolete Warship Slated as Artificial Reef

The Navy announced today that it will transfer the former aircraft carrier ex-Oriskany to the State of Florida for use as an artificial reef. The Navy was granted authority to transfer obsolete warships to states for artificial reefing purposes under the fiscal 2004 National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 108-136).

This selection represents another step forward in the Navys efforts to safely reduce its inventory of obsolete ships by cost-effective means that also have proven benefits to the marine environment commented Rear Adm. Charles S. Hamilton, the Navys program executive officer, ships. Capt. Lawrence M. Jones, Jr., program manager, Inactive Ships Program Office reports to Hamilton for all inactive ships matters, and is now managing the Navys artificial reefing program under this new authority.

Since 1972, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) has had the authority to transfer obsolete vessels for artificial reefing purposes. Recognizing that both agencies have an inventory of vessels appropriate for such use, the Navy and MARAD recently joined in a cooperative effort for making suitable obsolete Navy warships and MARAD merchant-type vessels available for use as artificial reefs.

The Navys decision to transfer ex-Oriskany to the State of Florida is the culmination of many hours of hard work on the part of the Navy and MARAD. Four applications were submitted by five states (one each from the states of Florida, Mississippi and Texas, and a joint proposal from Georgia and South Carolina). After a thorough Navy/MARAD review and analysis of these applications, the Navy concluded that the State of Florida proposal for using ex-Oriskany as an artificial reef provides the best value to the U.S. government. Before transfer of ex-Oriskany can occur, the Navys contractor will perform work necessary to environmentally prepare the ship for sinking as an artificial reef. Once this work and other details are complete, the Navy will execute a transfer agreement with the State of Florida and expects the ship to be sunk for use as an artificial reef before the end of the summer 2004.

The Navy looks forward to continuing its cooperative effort with MARAD to support artificial reefing in an efficient, effective, safe and environmentally sound manner.

Further questions can be referred to Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs at (202) 781-2975.

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