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November 26, 2001


For more information contact:
Bill Figley at 609-748-2020

Last month, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife sunk three vessels on two of its artificial reef sites off the coast. The vessels will create valuable habitat for marine life including sea bass, blackfish, porgy and lobster, as well as offer anglers and divers recreational opportunities for generations to come.

On October 30, a 178-foot tanker barge was sunk on the Axel Carlson Reef Site located two miles offshore of Mantoloking. The vessel was a fuel oil barge with a cargo capacity of 12,000 barrels. Since 1985 it was used to transport waste water. The vessel was donated to the state by Clean Water of New York, a commercial oil tank cleaning company located in Staten Island. The vessel was cleaned and prepared for sinking by Clean Water.

After anchoring in position on the reef site, the tanker was sunk by opening valves. Sinking took 110 minutes. The vessel now rests on the sea floor at a depth of 78 feet.

The vessel was renamed the "Jim Lynch" by the Greater Point Pleasant Charter Boat Association in memory of a fellow charter boat captain and Port Authority Officer who died in the World Trade Center tragedy on September 11, 2001. Jim Lynch was the captain of the charter boat Finaddict that sailed from Brielle and a police officer with the Port Authority for 22 years. Funds to help cover the costs of towing the vessel from Staten Island to the Axel Carlson Reef were provided from the Association's "Ship Sinking Fund," which has helped sink two tankers and a tugboat on New Jersey reef sites over the past five years.

Also on October 30, a 95-foot tug was sunk on the Axel Carlson Reef Site. The vessel was cleaned and prepared for sinking by Captain Sean Mowbray. After towing the tug from its docksite in Jersey City to the Axel Carlson Reef Site, it was sunk by opening a hole in the engine room. The tug sank in 50 minutes and now rests at a depth of 78 feet of water.

The tug was renamed the "John LaRie III" after a charter fishing vessel from Manasquan Inlet that sank in rough seas on October 24, 1982. Of the 22 people onboard, two crewmembers and six passengers lost their lives. The memorial was sponsored by fellow members of the recreational fishing community.

On October 31, a 96-foot tugboat, the Lewis F. Boyer, was sunk on the Sea Girt Reef Site, located four miles offshore of Manasquan Inlet. The vessel was built in the 1930s and after its lifespan as a working tug, the engine was removed and it was converted into a floating apartment. The vessel was donated to the state by Captain Dave Williams, who also cleaned and prepared the hull for sinking. The tug was towed from its berth in Peekskill, New York, down the Hudson River and out to the Sea Girt Reef where it now rests on the sea floor at a depth of 72 feet.

The cost of towing the tug was partially funded by New Jersey's scuba diving community. Sponsors included Captain Steve Nagiewicz of the charter dive boat Diversion II, Captain Dan Crowell of the charter dive boat Seeker, NJ, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Explorers Club, Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) Scuba Club, Delaware Valley Divers Club, Professional Divers, Chatham Water Sports, Langs Ski & Scuba, the Scuba Connection, and Gary Szabo.

The sponsors renamed the new wreck "Travis Stephen."