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April 12, 2017

'The Perfect Storm' rescue ship to be sunk off Jersey Shore

A World War II-era ship that was immortalized in a popular film for a daring rescue during an infamous storm will soon be sunk off the New Jersey coast.

United States Coast Guard cutter Tamaroa has been prepped to become an artificial reef, Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday. The ship's final destination on the ocean floor is planned to be approximately 26 nautical miles off both states' coasts.

The 205-foot vessel gained fame in 1991 when its crew rescued three people stranded in a sailboat as a hurricane and nor'easter converged in the Atlantic Ocean. The ordeal was documented in the book "The Perfect Storm" by Sebastian Junger and later made into a 2000 movie of the same name.

Originally named USS Zuni, the ship was commissioned in 1943 to serve as a Navy tug during World War II. It was transferred to the Coast Guard in 1946 and renamed Tamaroa after a Native American tribe. The ship was decommissioned in 1994.

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Coast Guard inspected the ship for reefing. After removing clearing interior paneling, insulation, fuel and fluids, the Coast Guard approved the ship for sinking.

Depending on the weather forecast, the states currently plan to tow the Tamaroa sometime next week. Crews are waiting for at least a 48-hour window to conduct the reefing.

Delaware is providing 75 percent of the funding for the effort, while New Jersey is picking up the rest.