Important Facts About The Artificial Reef MV Twin Capes

The video of the sinking of the MV Twin Capes has brought up a few points.  I am actually surprised that a video that received such a huge amount of traffic didn’t have too many misinformed comments.  Usually a video or picture on social media will get a lot of “assumption” comments that are way off base.  These are some of the facts you don’t know about the MV Twin Capes sinking. There were several comments about repurposing this vessel.  That was considered and eventually an artificial reef was the result.  One can think it would be “easy” to salvage or repurpose these vessels, but the work involved is always a huge cost no one can cover.  You can’t get that work done if you don’t have a willing buyer.

mv twin capes
you can see right into the pilot house.

She is located at the Del-Jersey-Land Reef which is 26 nautical miles from Lewes, Cape May,and Ocean City Maryland.  This is an artificial reef system shared by all three states. She is located at the following coordinates.   38°30.90’N, 074° 30.90’W

MV Twin Capes is sinking

The following facts were posted by Ruth Richards … Just to clear the air on some of these misguided comments, my husband,Jeff Tinsman runs the Delaware Artificial Reef Program
1. Funding for this project was from Sport Fish Restoration funds, taxes on fishing and boating equipment. No state or tax payer funds were used.
2. EPA regulates our activities and paint is not toxic.
3. Life expectancy of this vessel as a reef is more than 100 years. The iron will degrade very slowly and is not toxic in ocean water.
4. At the time of purchase, the price of steel was so low that cutting it up would have cost more than could be recouped by its sale.
5. The ocean in the mid-Atlantic is bare sand bottom with no protection for reef fish. Artificial reefs are not ocean dumping but provide unique and important fish habitat and fishing opportunities.
6. Regarding economic benefits, fishing on reef sites returns $7 MILLION annually to the coastal economy.

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M/V Twin Capes, retired Lewes-to-Cape May ferry,
sunk to become part of Delaware’s artificial reef system

ATLANTIC OCEAN 38°30.90’N, 074° 30.90’W (June 15, 2018) – The M/V Twin Capes, a ferry christened 43 years ago on the Delaware Bay and retired after thousands of runs between her namesakes Cape Henlopen, Del. and Cape May, N.J., was sunk today to become part of Delaware’s acclaimed artificial reef system. Twin Capes, whose sinking will expand and enhance fish habitat and offer extraordinary opportunities for deep-sea diving, went down at 11:55 a.m. on the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Artificial Reef – a reef so named because it lies equidistant from Lewes, Del., Cape May, and Ocean City, Md.

MV Twin Capes
MV Twin Capes is starting to get heavy with water in the stern

The Twin Capes’ sinking was carried out by Norfolk, Va.-based marine contractor Coleen Marine, which bought the ferry from the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) last year for reefing. Twin Capes joined the Del-Jersey-Land reef’s submerged fleet that includes the ex-destroyer USS Arthur W. Radford, which went down in 2011 as the longest ship reefed on the East Coast, and the Zuni/Tamaroa, the one-time harbor tug and Battle of Iwo Jima survivor turned US Coast Guard cutter that plied Atlantic waters for almost 50 years.

While Radford, at 568 feet, remains the longest ship ever reefed on the East Coast, the 320-foot long Twin Capes may be the best addition yet to Delaware’s artificial reef system for both fishing and recreational diving opportunities.

Cutting more holes

The 2,100-ton ferry was one of the original three vessels of the DRBA’s 1970s fleet. Twin Capes during the 1990s was retrofitted with a new superstructure and four new decks, multiple lounges, a new pilot house, and “shark-fin” smokestacks. All these features lend to the creation of enhanced fish habitat, while for dive trips, Twin Capes’ 70-foot vertical profile will attract tunas, sharks, and seasonally even barracudas.


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