CAPE MAY POINT, N.J. — The ship made famous in the book and film "The Perfect Storm" will be intentionally sunk off the New Jersey and Delaware coasts next week, assuming it doesn't encounter any more storms.
A spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection told The Record newspaper (https://njersy.co/2nEwKUm ) that the Coast Guard ship Tamaroa will be sunk April 18 if weather allows. The vessel will grow an artificial reef near Cape May Point.
The sinking was supposed to happen last year on the 25th anniversary of the famous storm, but it was held up by tests. Before being sunk, the ship had to be screened for potentially dangerous chemicals. On Wednesday, environmental regulators announced that the ship had been cleared.
During a powerful storm in 1991, the Tamaroa was used to rescue the crews of a sailboat and a downed Air National Guard helicopter in waters off Massachusetts. Three people on the sailboat were saved. Four crew members on the helicopter — which had run out of fuel during its own rescue mission — were also rescued. A fifth was never recovered.
The story of that mission was told in a bestselling book and a 2000 film starring George Clooney.
Before its most famous operation, the ship was deployed by the Navy in World War II. The vessel, then known as the USS Zuni, was transferred to the Coast Guard after the war and spent nearly five decades rescuing ships in distress, intercepting smugglers at sea and enforcing fishery laws.
Former crew members have said they're glad to see the ship become part of the reef, calling it a better fate than being scrapped.
The Associated Press