Note: This item is more than seven years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references.
Texas Clipper Resting on Port Side; TPWD Studying Options
AUSTIN, Texas — When the USTS Texas Clipper finally plunged beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico in a plume of spray at 12:35 p.m., Nov. 17, it’s fair to say the mood aboard many of the boats chartered to observe the sinking was euphoric.
More than $4 million and a decade of planning and preparation had gone into converting the storied ship into an artificial reef, and the sinking itself was twice delayed in that final week due to rough seas.
The reef is intended to provide benefits to the local community by attracting divers and recreational fishing to the site and the area. Nearly 200 people viewed the ship as she took her final resting place that will provide ecological benefits for years to come.
A sonar survey and follow-up dives have revealed that the ship is completely resting on her port side. The intention was for the ship to rest on its keel and in an upright position. In that orientation it would be available to a broad range of divers from beginners to the experienced.
"The ship, as she now sits on the bottom, will still have some of the biological benefits to corals, sponges, fish and other organisms as originally intended," Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Artificial Reef Program Coordinator Dale Shively said. "We certainly wished that she had landed upright because that would have maximized the recreational benefits of the ship to the fishing and diving communities."
TPWD is currently working with the contractor, Resolve Marine Services, Inc., to explore whether it's feasible for the ship to be moved to an upright position.**
The USTS Texas Clipper reefing project was funded from donations to the artificial reef fund from the Rigs-to-Reefs program and through matching funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the United States Maritime Administration that will allow the state to recoup about $2.5 million of the project cost.
SIDEBAR: The USTS Texas Clipper reef site is approximately 17 nautical miles (19.5 statute miles) northeast of the City of South Padre Island.* A yellow, lighted spar buoy is connected to the bow of the ship, at Lat: 26 11’ 24.31646" and Lon: -96 51’ 41.16392" (NAD 83). The stern of the ship rests at Lat: 26 11’ 28.8.828" and Lon: -96 51’ 42.56449".
EDITOR’S NOTE: Photos of the ship under all three names, as well as photos of the sinking, are available on the TPWD Web site.
On the Net:
Publication — Permission is granted to publish, in whole or in part, any news releases on this page.
Print — A print-friendly version of the news release shows only the release with font sizes set to the browser default.
Plain Text — Plain text versions of TPWD news releases are provided for copying and pasting into editing software.
To copy text into an editing software:
- Click a Plain Text link to display the plain text page in your browser.
- Select all.
- Paste in a document in your editing program.
Permalink — This is a direct link to the news release, omitting the navigation context from the URI.
English/Spanish — News releases posted in both English and Spanish have one of these links.
If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and mention Plain Text Pages.