Beleaguered vessels sets sail for final destination

| 20/12/2010

(CNS): Following the many trials and tribulations associated with the plan to create an artificial reef by sinking the ex-USS Kittiwake in Cayman waters, off Seven Mile Beach the ship has finally begun its journey to the Cayman Islands. The most recently set date for the sinking was 5 December but that had to be cancelled due to a combination of bad weather and the need for repairs to the tugboat. A new date has not yet been fixed but it is anticipated that the sinking will take place in the New Year shortly after the old vessel arrives in Grand Cayman. The 251-foot submarine vessel left its US dock on Thursday 16 December 16 for its final journey and Project Manager, Nancy Easterbrook said it was a momentous occasion.

“After so many years of a very complicated project, having the Kittiwake depart Norfolk with a clear weather window to start the tow is extremely exciting news,” she said. “With over 1,000 people employed in the water sports industry, this is going to be a great boost to local businesses with a new water-based tour to take visitors to and an awesome experience for residents living here. I think that most everyone is very excited and we are praying for fair winds and following seas for the next two weeks.”

Seven years in the making, the Kittiwake is a project of the Ministry and Department of Tourism in partnership with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA). The 5-deck, 2200-ton Kittiwake was originally commissioned as a Chanticleer-class submarine rescue ship in the United States Navy in 1945 during World War II. After 50 years of service the Kittiwake was decommissioned in 1994.

According to Easterbrook, the Kittiwake will be an interesting attraction, with plenty of room for divers and snorkelers to explore, including its recompression chamber, air bank storage, engine room and dive locker. It will be sunk in only 65 feet of water and the top of the bridge and smoke stack will be 20 feet from the surface.

“The Kittiwake was selected for the reefing project due to her size and height being suitable for Cayman waters, as well as her overall weight, being a very heavy, solid steel ship with 18 bulkheads. This type of ship will have the longest life underwater and will be less susceptible to break-up and damage due to storms,” she explained.

Acting Director of Tourism Shomari Scott said the dive industry has been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Kittiwake, which will be a welcome addition to the already impressive number of dive sites.
“I invite the dive sector and the public to join us in celebrating this milestone, by watching the sinking either from the West Bay public beach or from one of the boats that will be available to the public.”

Information on these and other activities will be posted on the Department of Tourism’s website, and at the official Kittiwake website,, once dates and times have been finalised. “I encourage everyone to keep monitoring the press for further details” he said.

Once it arrives in Grand Cayman, the Kittiwake will be prepared for sinking over a four-day period.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Local News

About the Author ()

Comments (9)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. John Evans says:

    Just get it down by the beginning of February so I can dive it on my 60th birthday.

  2. EyesWideOpen says:

    Any Toxins? Mercury? or the such……any detriment to our marine life, reef and environment?…….have our Official researched this prior to the purchase & sinking?……jus’ wondering out loud.

  3. Anonymous says:

     Another waste of money and damage to the ENVIRONMENT these people cant learn,  The paint on the ships contain LEAD and other TOXIC CHEMICALS, look at the last one they sunk on Cayman Brac it nothing but a bunch of tangled scrap metal.  Why don’t the GOVERNMENT look in to putting down Some thing like what they did in Mexico.  that actually help to promote coral growth and would help the environment, the Ship on Cayman Brac been down for year and it nothing to see.

    Please think bout the Environment and just not YOUR POCKETS  

  4. My2cents says:

    What is "beleaguered" about the vessel? Seems an unnecessary description about the vessel. Why the headline CNS?

    • Where's Waldo says:

      Beleaguered – Plagued; beset by trouble or difficulty

      Ok well maybe it isn’t plagued but it certainly has been beset by trouble and difficulty, so a fair headline I would say.

      That said I can’t wait! Should be a great addition to an already wonderful marine environment, congratulations to all involved.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that the "beleaguered" description was unnecessary. Was there a message intended with this description? Regardless of Mr. Dictionary’s comments, the overall impression of the word choice is negative.

    • Joe Above Average says:

      Hmmm- here’s the thing.  For the past several months the dive mags have been promoting this event.  Alert Diver was going to devote a special review of the wonders of Cayman diving- couldn’t make it happen.  Hey Joe Average- there are consequences to not giving a crap about meeting deadlines.  So you and Mac, do expound upon the superfine qualities of being  irresponsible and having your word mean nothing.  Res ipsa loquitur.