Preparations for ex-USS Arthur W. Radford sinking under way

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DOVER – The transfer agreement giving title of the ex-USS Arthur W. Radford to Delaware for sinking as an artificial reef was formalized this week when the US Navy issued a “Notice to proceed” to move the former destroyer to dry dock in the Philadelphia Naval Yard and prepare the ship for sinking. The ex-Radford will be the largest ship ever reefed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The 563-foot-long Radford is scheduled to go down later this year onto the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Reef site, located 26 miles southeast of the Indian River Inlet. The reef’s name comes from the three states –Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland – partnering with the Navy to enhance fisheries habitat and recreational diving opportunities by putting the Radford on the ocean floor. The Navy also is sharing cost of reefing preparations, including transport of the ex-warship to its resting place in Delaware waters.

The Radford will be berthed at Pier 5, Dry Dock 2, during cleaning and preparation for sinking. Cleanup will follow EPA best management practices for reefing vessels and will be undertaken by American Marine Group, a Virginia-based contractor that has reefed many vessels along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. American Marine contractually has 110 days from the Radford’s entering dry dock to have the ex-destroyer ready for sinking.