Monday, October 24, 2016

Ship that saved 7 during 'Perfect Storm' to be sunk off NJ

Scott Fallon reports for The Record:

The USS Zuni survived the submarine-infested waters of the Pacific during World War II as it towed torpedoed warships to safety and aided in the Battle of Iwo Jima.

A half-century later and renamed the Tamaroa, it overcame gale force winds and 40-foot waves to help save seven people off the New England coast, a rescue effort immortalized in the book and film “The Perfect Storm.”

But the Tamaroa could not conquer time.

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This ship that has made so much history will soon be sunk off the southern coast of New Jersey to help expand an artificial reef that attracts both scuba divers and anglers. A decade-long effort to turn the ship into a museum and memorial was derailed when the Tamaroa’s hull sprung a leak four years ago, causing significant damage to key parts of the ship.

Having the Tamaroa sit on the ocean floor isn’t how many who served on the ship envisioned its fate. There is, after all, an emotional attachment to the ship far more powerful than mere nostalgia. The Tamaroa was home to generations of crew members who routinely risked their lives in some of the most brutal conditions to save others.

The man who commanded the ship during the 1991 “Perfect Storm” said sinking the Tamaroa is a better outcome than being demolished for scrap metal, a common ending for old service ships.

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