Kittiwake hits more troubled waters

| 30/11/2010

(CNS): The sinking of the former naval ship USS Kittiwake has been delayed again organizers say, as the ship has hit stormy weather off the US coast. The project which will create an artificial reef off Seven Mile Beach has been more than seven years in the making and the sinking was planned for July of this year. Getting the vessel to Cayman caused delays for the summer sinking however, and the event was reset for Sunday, 5 December. But poor weather has foiled the attempt at getting the boat on the seabed once again. The ship left the US from the James River Reserve Fleet in Virginia and is being towed along the eastern seaboard of the US from Virginia, to southern Florida.

From Key West, the Kittiwake will be towed along normal shipping lanes around the western side of Cuba to the west side of Grand Cayman over 1400 nautical miles and this journey is expected to take more than a week but no new date has yet been set for the sinking.

The 251-foot, 2,200 ton, five-deck military vessel, which served the United States Maritime Administration (US MARAD) for over 50 years after it was commissioned in 1945, will, if it ever makes it to Cayman, create an artificial reef and a new dive attraction. The vessel was expected to arrive in Grand Cayman yesterday before a number of events were scheduled to happen to mark the occasion.

The project is a joint venture between the Ministry and Department of Tourism and the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA). Premier McKeeva Bush recently said that the sinking represents the single most significant occurrence in a decade for Cayman’s dive industry and stakeholders were naturally very excited.

“Since the last year, the Ministry and Department of Tourism, CITA and Kittiwake Project Manager, Nancy Easterbrook, have been working hand in hand through many processes to ensure the cleaning and safe movement of the vessel to the Cayman Islands, in preparation for its sinking and I am pleased to see that we are almost at the finish line,” the premier said recently. “This public-private sector partnership is a good example of the kind of meaningful collaboration that results in necessary and exciting enhancements to our tourism product, such as the Kittiwake will bring.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I served aboard the big K in the early 70’s. Watching her go down will be like losing an old friend who watched over you. She was not a hunk of junk but a home and a very important part of a lot of peoples lives. The Caymans should be honored to have her laid to rest in their waters. I wish I could be there to salute her.

  2. QM3 91-94 Decom says:

    I served on her in the 90’s through her decom. I’d be interested to see some photos of what they did to make her ready for an attraction  

  3. Kerry Horek says:

     I am not happy at all to see this hunk of junk being dumped in my beautiful pristine waters.

    We have the largest garbage dump per capita and we can’t get rid of it or find a solution to remove or fix, and now we have to import more garbage belonging to someone else who didn’t know where to put it and dump it in our waters.

    This is all for the sake of a few divers!!

    The one they dumped in CYB several years ago is hardly dived, and certainly has proved to fail and does not compare to nothing like what they claimed it would generate to persuade us to accept the junk.

    Every where around the world countries are going green and eco-friendly and we are practicing sinking ships for dive sites, an act that is so outdated and behind the times.

    My prayer is that it sinks before it reaches our waters.  Yep, that’s my cynical outlook for this rust bucket junk.

    Kerry Horek
    Activist for the Environment
    & my beautiful Islands.

    • openeyes says:

      The truth is that this ship will create beneficial habitat, and serve to increase tourism to Cayman. This ship has been expertly cleaned of contaminants and prepared to be the best dive attraction in the world, with countless hours put in by many hard working people all to help the environment and the economy of Cayman. Take the time to read and learn more about the benefits of creating an artificial reef using the right materials, such as this clean, solid ship, and you too can be educated enough to understand that this is a great project, with great potential.

  4. The Original Anon says:

    This is off on a different tangent but what became of the floating bar at Stingray City?  I’ve never heard anybody speak of it.  Is it a huge sucess?  Is it there at all?

  5. Bobby Anonymous says:

    It’s sad when you can’t even sink a ship!

  6. The USS Kittiwake (ASR-13) was never a part of  the United States Maritime Administration MARAD (?) but was always a big part of the United States Navy USN. That old girl, who I was proud to serve aboard, will only sink when she is good and ready! I believe she’ll pick her time to go down to the sea for the last time. As She Is  Not a Mortal Being! She protected us mortals through 50 foot seas, icebergs, hurricanes, Soviet Warships, drunken bar fights and many jealous husbands. God bless the old girl, USS Kittiwake! You show ’em who’s boss old girl!

  7. Anonymous says:

    it’s always nice when you can blame the weather (has anyone checked official weather reports for the area)……soon come, soon come…zzzz