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The sinking of the Oriskany
June 15, 2006 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Excellent photoset documenting the sinking of the Oriskany aircraft carrier to create an artificial reef.
posted by jonson (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome pics (which could have been resized to half as big and save them some bandwidth, but alas). I see the boat on the rusty deck had the electronics and explosives, and it floated right away from the wreck.

There was an old Mythbusters episode about sinking ships creating vortexes that pull things down into the water, and they couldn't get much of a vortex sinking small ships but looking at this, even with a giant aircraft carrier, the small boat never seemingly got dunked and happily floated away. You'd think if a vortex was possible, an immense aircraft carrier would create a huge one, but it didn't appear to be so.
posted by mathowie at 9:13 AM on June 15, 2006


How strong could the vortex be if Jack & Rose were able to swim free, after all?
posted by jonson at 9:23 AM on June 15, 2006


Here's the Wikipedia article on the Oriskany, which is surprisingly (to me) detailed.

It's sort of haunting how we're at the point now that we have enough pictures to chronicle the entire life of something as gigantic and overpowering as an aircraft carrier.
posted by blacklite at 9:26 AM on June 15, 2006


Since it was docked in pensacola for a while, I got to see it up close, rust and all. Amazing ship, great pictures.
posted by justgary at 9:36 AM on June 15, 2006


videos
posted by pyramid termite at 9:38 AM on June 15, 2006


Regarding the vortex question, I'd postulate that in this case they weren't going for a very quick job and in more extreme circumstances you'd see a larger vortex.

The other thing I noticed was that it was anchored with didn't really allow the bow to up end and shoot down more rapidly.

I did think to myself what it would have been like to ride that out on that little boat though...
posted by aaronscool at 9:49 AM on June 15, 2006


better video here
posted by pyramid termite at 9:53 AM on June 15, 2006


Thanks, jonson and pyramid termite. Having lived and worked on an aircraft carrier (the Abraham Lincoln, perhaps you've heard of it) for three years of my life, watching one of these go down for a good cause gives me no end of pleasure.
posted by greasepig at 10:15 AM on June 15, 2006




.
posted by zoinks at 10:38 AM on June 15, 2006


Videos shot in VOMITVISION™! Yes, I know, handheld, boats, long distance, all that.

Its not too late to get some schwag.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:51 AM on June 15, 2006


Also, weird to see stuff like this intentionally dismantled/sunk. During its entire life people fought like hell to keep it together and ultimately we do to it ourselves what our enemies most wanted for it.

I feel the same way about the decomissioned SAC base in my backyard, though, so maybe I'm a cold-war sentimentalist.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:53 AM on June 15, 2006


Great pictures, but take my word: this will be remembered as one of the stupidest things we have ever done.
posted by pwb503 at 10:59 AM on June 15, 2006


this will be remembered as one of the stupidest things we have ever done.

I agree that it's probably pretty stupid, but in the pantheon of stupid things that we've done, this one doesn't even rank.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:01 AM on June 15, 2006


I always wanted to ride it out on the little boat. pwb503, could you give me some back ground on that statement... i was under the impression that this program was pretty well liked.
posted by sourbrew at 11:35 AM on June 15, 2006


always wanted should be also wanted
posted by sourbrew at 11:37 AM on June 15, 2006


Why is it stupid? Did I miss something?
posted by Megafly at 11:39 AM on June 15, 2006


The little boat is really cute.

John McCain flew off of the Oriskany on his 23rd bombing mission and was shot down and became a POW.

There was a terrible fire on the Oriskany in October 1966. A crewman accidentally lit a flare and threw it into a magazine. Forty-four people died.

It's sort of haunting how we're at the point now that we have enough pictures to chronicle the entire life of something as gigantic and overpowering as an aircraft carrier.

Photo gallery of lifespan of the USS Oriskany.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:49 AM on June 15, 2006


I would have thought that the metal might have been recycled. It does seem strange to drop thousands of tons of refined steel, etc. into the water.

Seems like you should be able to scaffold a new reef formation with something that wouldn't represent a LOT of pollution, time and effort in refining its basic materials.

I'm sure others have already thought through all this and have good reasons, though.
posted by darkstar at 12:44 PM on June 15, 2006


this will be remembered as one of the stupidest things we have ever done

How so? It's really just steel and a few other relatively inert materials---all the dangerous stuff is stripped out. There's no fuel on board, for instance. Aguably we should be doing more of this so that as the reefs in these areas die out (from global warming) the reef eco-systems have somewhere to move to.
posted by bonehead at 1:06 PM on June 15, 2006


I would have thought that the metal might have been recycled. It does seem strange to drop thousands of tons of refined steel, etc. into the water.

Ship-breaking is much more industrially hazardous than sinking the thing to create an artificial reef.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:31 PM on June 15, 2006


I would have thought that the metal might have been recycled.

It was. As a reef.

And, if we really need the steel in 50 or 100 years, we know where to get it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:00 PM on June 15, 2006


There was a terrible fire on the Oriskany in October 1966

Weird, because I was thinking that the smoke reminded me of the Forrestal fire. Even weirder -- the Oriskany was the first to respond to that fire, almost a year later. (I see in 1972 she collided with the USS Nitro. That's one thing you never want to do...)

I was a little concerned they didn't do a better job with the PCBs, but I think artificial reefs from ships are fairly common now and it isn't a great concern. A fitting end. And seriously, there are so many WWII-era ships that are being decommissioned the last couple of decades the Navy literally can't give them away.
posted by dhartung at 2:09 PM on June 15, 2006


the Navy literally can't give them away

I'll take one. Just give me a berth.
posted by breath at 5:50 PM on June 15, 2006


I still have a hard time believing such magnificent things were built 10 blocks from my apt.
nice post, thanks.
posted by Busithoth at 12:25 PM on June 16, 2006


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