Enjoy this impression of the outside of the Kittiwake, the world famous artificial reef in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
The ex-USS Kittiwake was a Submarine Rescue vessel (ASR-13). She was part of the 6th Submarine squadron (SUBRON 6) home ported at the Destroyer-Submarine piers in Norfolk, VA.
She was built by Savannah Machine & Foundry Co. (Savanna, Georgia), awarded May 11, 1944 near the end of WWII, launched July 10, 1945 and commissioned July 18, 1946.
The Kittiwake had an illustrious service for over 54 years, being decommissioned September 30, 1994. After being laid up by the US Navy for 6 years, the Kittiwake was transferred to the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) in March of 2000. From 2000 - 2009, she resided at the James River Reserve Fleet in Fort Eustis, Virginia (Norfolk area).
MARAD issued an invitation to both US and International applicants to apply for the donation of a ship for the purposes of artificial reefing in 2004, and the Cayman Islands applied for a ship. The Cayman Islands was approved as the pilot project for the “donation of a ship from MARAD to a foreign Government for the purposes of artificial reefing”.
The Kittiwake was transferred from MARAD to the Cayman Islands Government in August 2009 and was cleaned and remediated in Norfolk, Virginia to become an artificial reef. This included substantial work including the removal of all hazardous materials (like pcb's, asbestos, mercury, cabling, wires, oils, lubricants and a very long list). Additionally, all thin or loose materials that could break off during or soon after sinking were removed. The Kittiwake is possibly the 'cleanest' wreck even to be sunk as an artificial reef.