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Philadelphia, PA – Delaware Governor Jack Markell and DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara were joined by natural resource officials from Maryland and New Jersey in Philadelphia on July 29 alongside the ex-USS Arthur W. Radford for a final salute to the destroyer before her final mission into the Atlantic to be sunk as part of the Del-Jersey-Land artificial reef program.
The Radford is expected to leave the dock at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in early August, having been prepared there as the longest ship sunk for reefing in the Atlantic Ocean, through a partnership of Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and the U.S. Navy. The 563-foot former destroyer will come to rest on the Del-Jersey-Land reef site located 26 miles southeast of the Indian River Inlet and almost equidistant from ports of Cape May, N.J. and Ocean City, Md.
The Radford reefing venture flew a high-profile flag throughout time spent at the dock – as the country’s first multi-state reefing collaboration and more importantly as a boon for the economy of the three states through recreational fishing and diving and for the environment by providing valuable habitat for marine life. Studies have found that artificial reefs offer up to 400 times the food source for fish than is found on average ocean bottom.
Gov. Markell talked about the proud history of the Radford, as well as its promising future, “This ship and its crew members have been all over the world protecting our country. Now, the Radford’s new mission will bring people from across the nation and other parts of the world to our region.”
“Our artificial reefs bring in thousands of fishing and dive trips annually – and that brings in something else