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When Boats Don't Float: From Historic Wrecks to Abandoned Ships

Old image of ship in ocean.
Diver with lights approaches underwater wreck.
Two wrecked ships leaning on one another in the water.
Diver exploring sunken wreck.
Rusted shipwreck in breaking waves near the beach.
Rusted metal debris on a beach.
Rusted fishing vessel in the ocean.
Man standing on an overturned barge in the river.
Ship's wooden skeleton on a beach.
Using heavy equipment to dismantle a vessel in the water.
Ship grounded on beach.
Old image of ship in ocean.
SS Montebello, Sunk by a Japanese Submarine

On December 23, 1941, the tank ship SS Montebello was sunk by a Japanese submarine in 900 feet of water.

Credit:
Diver with lights approaches underwater wreck.
Vessel Northern Light Wrecked off of Florida Coast

Diver with lights approaching the bow of the Northern Light, a vessel sunk to a depth of 190 feet. Sunk in 1930, it had been a Great Lakes freighter but was converted to a barge in 1927.

Credit: NOAA
Two wrecked ships leaning on one another in the water.
Old Freighter Leaking Oil

Pictured here in 2014, the old freighter Helena Star has been allowed to become derelict, leaking oil and pulling down its neighboring vessel, the Golden West. In 2014, the State of Washington announced it was pursuing criminal charges against the owner of the Helena Star, which sank in Tacoma's Hylebos Waterway, releasing oil and other pollutants.

Credit: NOAA
Diver exploring sunken wreck.
Wreck of the USS Macaw

In 2005, NOAA diver inspecting the remains of the submarine rescue ship, USS Macaw, that sank in 1944.

Credit: NOAA
Rusted shipwreck in breaking waves near the beach.
Rusted Ship on Samoan Coast

Grounded, rusting vessel near the shore.

Credit: NOAA
Rusted metal debris on a beach.
Debris from a Wreck in American Samoa

Rusted debris from a grounded vessel sets on the beach and in the surf.

Credit: NOAA
Rusted fishing vessel in the ocean.
Fishing Vessel Adrift After Japan Tsunami

The derelict Japanese fishing vessel Ryou-Un Maru found drifting more than 125 miles from Forrester Island in southeast Alaska. The fishing vessel, seen here in 2012, drifted unmanned at sea since the 2011 Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Credit: U.S. Coast Guard, Air Station Kodiak
Man standing on an overturned barge in the river.
Overturned Barge in the Mississippi

The NOAA Marine Debris Program and the National Park Service inspect an overturned barge, a long flat-bottomed boat used for carrying freight, along the Mississippi River prior to removal.

Credit: NOAA
Ship's wooden skeleton on a beach.
Bessie White Shipwreck

The shipwreck of the Bessie White was unearthed from its grave by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The vessel disappeared in fog in 1920, and was not seen again until 2012.

Credit: Chris Ragazzo/FEMA
Using heavy equipment to dismantle a vessel in the water.
M/V Jireh Dismantled

After Tropical Storm Isaac in 2012, salvage crews and coral ecologists worked to remove the grounded freighter M/V Jireh while also protecting the island’s corals.

Credit: U.S. Coast Guard/Walter Shinn
Ship grounded on beach.
M/V Jireh Ship Grounding

After Tropical Storm Isaac passed, salvage crews and coral ecologists worked to remove the grounded freighter M/V Jireh while also protecting the island's corals in 2012.

Credit: U.S. Coast Guard
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