New BVI Dive Site Features Ship That Survived Pearl Harbor

Mar 11, 2017

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On Dec. 7, 1941, fuel tanker YO-44 was able to avoid the bombs falling on Pearl Harbor by relocating to nearby Merry Point Landing, making it one of only five ships to survive the attack. The YO-44 was decommissioned after WWII and later became a fishing boat named the Kodiak Queen.

Fast-forward to more than 70 years later, when historian Mike Cochran came across the Kodiak Queen rusting in a maritime junkyard on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands in 2012. Hoping to save the boat, he created a website that eventually caught the attention of Sir Richard Branson, who has since partnered up with Unite BVI, Secret Samurai Productions, Maverick1000, Beneath the Waves and a number of other groups to turn it into an underwater art installation. The project, called Project YOKO B.V.I. Art Reef, will also feature an 80-foot Kraken, along with an artificial coral reef designed to support the area’s endangered marine life.

The ship, which will now be equal parts art, history and ocean conservation, is set to sink to the bottom of the ocean on March 10, and will be open to visitors a month or two later. Branson told The New York Times he hopes the new dive site will encourage the local children to get in the water and become involved with water conservation at an early age — no doubt history buffs of all ages will soon be stopping by to check it out, too.

H/T: The New York Times

Featured image courtesy of BVI Art Reef’s Facebook page.

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