Sleep with the fishes! Retired Lewes-Cape May ferry sunk to bolster artificial reef system

After thousands of runs across the Delaware Bay ferrying passengers between Lewes and Cape May, the M/V Twin Capes was sunk on Saturday in the Atlantic Ocean (38°30.90’N, 074° 30.90’W) to become part of Delaware’s artificial reef system.

Christened 43 years ago, the Twin Capes ocean floor arrival will expand and enhance fish habitat and offer new opportunities for deep-sea diving.  The ship went down at 11:55 a.m. on the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Artificial Reef – a reef so named because it lies equidistant from Lewes, Del., Cape May, and Ocean City, Md.

The Twin Capes’ sinking was managed by Norfolk, Va.-based marine contractor Coleen Marine, which bought the ferry from the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) last year for reefing. Twin Capes joined the Del-Jersey-Land reef’s submerged fleet that includes the ex-destroyer USS Arthur W. Radford, which went down in 2011 as the longest ship reefed on the East Coast, and the Zuni/Tamaroa, the one-time harbor tug and Battle of Iwo Jima survivor turned US Coast Guard cutter that plied Atlantic waters for almost 50 years.

At 568 feet Radford remains the longest ship ever reefed on the East Coast; the 320-foot long Twin Capes is a significant best addition yet to Delaware’s artificial reef lineup.

The 2,100-ton ferry was one of the original three vessels of the DRBA’s 1970s fleet. Twin Capes during the 1990s was retrofitted with a new superstructure and four new decks, multiple lounges, a new pilot house, and “shark-fin” smokestacks. All these features lend to the creation of enhanced fish habitat, while for dive trips, Twin Capes’ 70-foot vertical profile will attract tunas, sharks, and seasonally even barracudas.

The M/V Twin Capes was sunk on Saturday in the Atlantic Ocean to become part of Delaware’s artificial reef system.

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