Kittiwake hits another snag

| 03/01/2011

(CNS): With winds expected to exceed 12 knots tomorrow the sinking of the Kittiwake has been postponed yet again. After seven years in the planning and endless snags and delays as a result of a number of different issues, the weather has again upset the schedule at the final hurdle. During a dedication service aboard the vessel on Monday Stephen Broadbelt from the Cayman Islands Tourism Association explained that for both environmental and safety reasons the ship cannot be sunk unless the wind drops below 12 knots. Provided the winds fall  the sinking is now expected to take place on Wednesday at 10am.(Photosby Dennie Warren Jr)

The former US naval vessel is set to become an artificial reef and will at some point be laid on the sea bed off the coast of Seven Mile Beach via a controlled sinking. The ship will be sunk as a result of holes drilled into the vessel and then lowered down on to the sea bed in a set position. Once in its final resting place nature will take its course when sea life begins to make the Kittiwake home creating a new dive attraction.

Cline Glidden represented the Cayman Islands government in Monday’s dedication service for the vessel (pictured above) which the tourism industry is pining hope on for a much needed boost. Following the service residents and visitors alike headed to West Bay public beach to hop on the free tenders to tour around the Kittiwake which is currently stationed at the location where eventually the vessel will be sunk. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr – John Glatstein, ex-crew member with Cline Glidden and Harry Lalli CITA president)


For more information on the Kittiwake visit


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Is there a sign-up sheet where we can put forward the names of people we would like to see onboard for the sinking?

    • Anonymous says:

      I see with the new boundary people will not be able to Snorkel Cemetery beach any more without paying a fee as half of the little reefs there are included in the Kittiwake area.

      • Anonymous says:

        And I see from the map on the Kittiwake website that the boundary line is about 40 ft deep. Last time I was there the snorkelers were in shallower than that. Stop The FUD.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can someone please tell me how they are going to stop a snorkellor from putting on fins and a mask on the beach and swimming out to the view the wreck once its sunk. Isnt the spot the vessel is being sunk in not Crown property? IT IS. So no one can be prevented from snorkelling there, unless of course they do a malicious act of some sort.

    While the sinking of the ship is a noble effort, it is this writers opinion that the entire ‘happenings’ is not about whats good it will do for the country but for the ego’s of the persons involved.

    Will the RCIPS have a continued presence 24/7 to ensure that the "admission" to view the wreck is paid or will this be done by the dive industry?

    • Anonymous says:

      Everything costs, we must each pay our share to enjoy the many wonders that is the Cayman Islands.

      The days of government providing everything is over, as Premier Bush said "…the country is broke…".

      Hopefully the funds earned will go towards the very valuable sea life research costs and even maybe another sunken vessel.

      I will pay my share and so should you!

      Stop whining – learn that you’ve got to "pay to play".

  3. My2Cents says:

    I was very lucky to be able to be part of the final clean up crew on both Friday and Saturday, and I can say this new dive attraction will be a fantastic addition to the underwater dive opportunities here in Cayman.

    Nancy should be given an honour in the New Years honours list for what she has done to bring this to fruition. Everyone will benefit from the publicity, the additional media interest in diving in Cayman, and more visitors coming to dive her.

    There is nothing but positive things to come from this.

    For all those whingers complaining the sinking is not happening for their convenience, remember history is littlered with historic events which ended up being postponed due to the weather. Good things come to those who wait.

  4. Alan Nivia says:

    Cayman’s only significant tourist selling point, other than its weather, is its existing diving opportunities.  This will make no difference to the industry.  We need to focus on other facilities which might attract high end tourists, although some more high end hotels would probably be a help.

    • Damien DaCosta says:

      I think that this War Ship should also be a relic to all the Searfarers and Veterans of the Cayman Islands as a remeberance of these Heros and Our Fore Fathers that went off to sea in Work and In War. Place a Plaque to remember our Heros of the Past. We should make this a Part of the Heros Day Celebrations seeing this as an event to open the eyes of our visitors and children to what makes a Hero.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is already substantial naval history associated with her.  Let us not forget it will become a living monument to all of the thousands of US servicemen who served aboard her, her sister ships, and all of those extended families.  

    • My2Cents says:

      This will make a world of difference. If you were a diver, you’d understand the excitement this brings.

      There will be new media interest in diving in Cayman. More publicity, more reporters checking out Cayman, leads to more news articles about diving in Cayman, which leads to move dive visitors considering visiting Cayman. More dive visitors means more regular visitors as divers often bring their non-diving family with them.

      As we can barely keep the current crop of high-end hotels even remotely utilized, I cannot imagine there is any need for another high end hotel. We need more reasonably-priced hotels to attract a broader range of tourists, IMHO.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Are the medalions an wrist bands that allows divers to access the wreck goin to be avaiable on board the cruiseships? If the taxi drivers have to stop at diveshops with the cruiseship passangers, they are goin to charge them an extra fare. Maybe a booyh at the cruiseship dock would be the right thing to do.

    • Anonymus says:

      More likely themedalions/bands will be included as part of your snorkel (or dive) trip price and you’ll get them on the boat. I really hope that no one is planning to try and shore dive (much less snorkel) this wreck. That’ll just be asking for trouble. (Boats & swimmers don’t mix.)

  6. Kathryn Bender says:

     I think they’ve been doing a great job keeping the public updated on the progress of the Kittiwake and giving folks the chance to be part of this historic sinking.  Opportunities to go on board, take a look around and help with the clean up process and even free boat rides to check it out from the outside.  It’s a shame the weather didn’t cooperate but hopefully with it taking 8 hours to sink the ship some may be able to check out some of it on their lunch break.

  7. Anonymous says:

     Here we go with all the experts again.  I would love to see the Kittiwake go down too but isn’t the most important thing that it goes down safely.  Remember it’s a diver’s attraction which in the end is good for us all.  Better yet, learn to dive and gear up naysayers. 🙂

  8. boymeetsgal says:


    Can’t see why they can’t postpone the event for Saturday or Sunday!   

    It is mindboggling how they could pick a work day when all the kids are in school to sink the ship!


    • My2Cents says:

      Just plain selfish.

      I guess you are one of those people who only think of me, me, and me in life. Don’t worry about the safety of those actually doing the sinking, or whether the thing will be sunk properly, just think about yourself.

      I bet you park in handicapped spots too….

    • Anonymous says:

      Every day it sits on the surface is more $$$$$ and there is a Nor’wester coming on Thurs/Fri.  

      Keep in mind this is not a dramatic Naval scuttling.  The ship is expected to take approx 6-9 hours to sink intact and its descent needs to be somewhat controlled and precise.   

      Large cutouts were arc-welded out of the Starboard hull yesterday, so she may go down one way or another by Friday!  Better it goes down under human supervision!

  9. Anonymous says:

    They don’t  care about locals/residents to watching sinking. They only care dollars in their eyes!! The sooner it sink, the bank account grow fatter!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yeah – right in the middle of the Nor’wester this weekend… never mind who would pay for the tug to be on standby for 5 more days $$$$ 

  11. Anonymous says:

    They should have sunk the ship during the holiday weekend, today (Monday) being a great opportunity for a lot of people to watch it. Planning to sink it on working day suggests that there was no interest in wishing to share the event with the majority of residents.  

    May as well leave it until the weekend now.

    • Anonymous says:

      A reminder that the ships sinking has been delayed on several occasions due to Nor’ Westers and other poor weather conditions. Plans were to try again to sink over the January 1st long weekend but once again plans were snagged by poor conditions, which were out of the sinking committees control. Volunteers and contractors were all on the boat New Years Day and the rest of the weekend cleaning and prepping the ship. A lot of prep work has to take place to ensure the boat is safe for divers. It’s been hard to get the ship sunk on a schedule that suits media, overseas travelers and the general public with all of these un-forseen snags and delays that are typically experienced during the planning phase of sinking a ship. God willing She will sink on Wednesday. The more research Ive done on ship sinking the more I realize how unpredictable they are. There has been instances where the ship broke off while towing to the final location and sank in an unexpected place, instances where it sank in the middle of the night when people including media were sleeping!!! It’s a tough business but it’s exciting for us to have this asset on our Island we should be proud and pray for a increase in dive business and a flourish of marine life as it provides shelter as an artificial reef.  

  12. Curious says:


    Sink it on Sunday after they give tours on Saturday!!!

    How hard does this need to be?

    • Anonymous says:

      Check the weather forecast and you will see why it’s been postponed, and can’t be done during the weekend. Someone like you should refrain from using the word "pinhead" to describe others. Especially when it’s an accurate description which you could apply to yourself.

      • Curious Pinhead says:

        Well if it can’t wait to the weekend then I suppose Wednesday is what’s left after the better choice of… hmmmm, let me think…

        what WAS it….

        Oh YES…

        …LAST WEEKEND!!

        Oh well.

        PS – it’s not nice to call names.

        • Anonymous says:

          You seem to be missing the point …. it’s NOT a choice at all, it’s God’s choice. It can’t sink in poor weather conditions, it’s not safe for the divers or for the people sinking Her. The person who controls the weather decides when the ship goes down….right now it appears like the earliest opening is Wednesday.

      • Truthseeker says:

        Do the naysayers seriously think that people that have invested many years of planning and hundreds of thousands of dollars haven’t  "thought this thing through" or are simply  "boneheads" because they aren’t providing a free show that is convenient to everyone?. 

        Until that ship is in place, on the bottom in the correct location, then all that effort could still be in vain. This is not a govornment sponsored or an unlimited resource initiative, and every delay equates to increased costs. Who is offering financial support to delay the sinking for the convenience of certain resident divers?

        I have nothing to do with this project, but I have no doubt that every one of the detractors points have been seriously considered.  


    • Ron Kipp says:

      Althought involved at the very beginning I am not involved on a day-today basis at this tme.

      We have a Norwester coming in this weekend. The ship must go down Wednesday or Thursday.

      This ship is going to be a big big PLUS for Cayman tourism. It must be done right. Just give these people a beak.

      Ron Kipp

    • S. Righteous says:

      Sink it on a Sunday? How dare you suggest such a thing? I for one will be at church and there better not be any music and dancing at your little sinking. Ship sinking, grocery shopping and the like must not be carried out on the Lord’s day.

      • Anonymous says:

        Music and Dancing have no effect on church goers, but those damn fireworks sure added effect to the thunder and brimstone sermons.