Joe Farrell enjoys blowing things up and sinking them to the bottom of the sea. And as president of one of the leading maritime salvage companies, Farrell also brings ships to the surface when they have found their way to the bottom prematurely. Farrell’s Resolve Marine Group of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., successfully sank the former U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Oriskany in May so that it settled evenly on its keel off the coast of Pensacola, Fla. It will serve as an artificial reef for divers and fishermen. At nearly 900 feet in length, the vessel is the largest such project in North America and perhaps in the world, according to Resolve.
The aircraft carrier was built in 1945 and decommissioned in 1977. It was the last of the Essex-class carriers in the Navy’s active fleet at the time and served during the Korea and Vietnam Wars. The vessel, stripped of its mechanicals and all pollutants, now sits in 212 feet of water.