No longer are two diesel engines propelling the Army Corp vessels M/V HUDSON along the New York Harbor being maneuvered by its crew — Instead the 52 foot nine inch workboat sat at atop a barge in the summer heat as it was being transported 60 miles from its former dock at the Army Corps' Marine Terminal at Caven Point, NJ.
The HUDSON ceased performing its operational service and became an artificial reef on August 3rd when it was lowered 2.7 miles offshore to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Suffolk County, New York.
The New York State Artificial Reef Program is designed to increase biodiversity in the waters surrounding Long Island by creating new habitat for marine life and to rejuvenate the region's fisheries. The Army Corps’ contribution of the 19-ton steel-hulled HUDSON will now aid the state’s reef expansion effort.
An artificial reef is a man-made underwater structure built to promote marine life. Artificial reefs are constructed from a variety of materials, including cleaned ship hulls and armored personnel carriers that attract many aquatic species.
The multipurpose workboat HUDSON served the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since 1963. Its operational service included collecting fisheries, water quality and sediment samples in support of waterborne navigation dredging especially the New York Harbor 50-foot deepening project, as well as for maintenance of dredging projects. The vessel and its crew also played a key role in TWA Flight 800 recovery operations, and transported equipment and personnel across the Hudson River from Manhattan to New Jersey in the wake of 9/11.
At the reef event, onboard an adjacent boat, the controlled placement of the HUDSON was observed by Army engineer leaders along with New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and experts from the Department of Environmental Conservation.
"The M/V HUDSON will now embark on its second career and continue in service to the Nation, by creating marine habitat and improving the environment as well as providing recreational opportunities for fishing and diving," said Col. Thomas Asbery, Commander of the Army Corps’ New York District. “I am very proud of the state and federal teamwork and initiative that allowed us to decommission a vessel, and use it in a beneficial manner in lieu of it being recycled on land.”
A combination of engineers and safety professionals worked to prepare the vessel for the next phase of its career.
The placement of the HUDSON was conducted by Donjon Marine Co Inc., of Hillside, N.J. in accordance with an engineered plan developed specifically for the vessel in order to conduct the sinking in a controlled manner.
A safety zone was established around the perimeter of the vessel during the lowering, commemorated by a ceremonial blowing of boat horns signifying the end, and the beginning of the HUDSON’s former and new mission.