British Columbia

HMCS Annapolis sunk to make artificial reef

Hundreds of people from around the world, including former ship's personnel, linked to a live feed of the sinking of the old Canadian Navy destroyer, the HMCS Annapolis, Saturday.

Former Navy destroyer slipped beneath the water in minutes after cutting charges fired

The HMCS Annapolis slips beneath the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Gambier Island, northwest of Vancouver. (Artificial Reef Society of B.C.)

Hundreds of people from around the world, including former ship's personnel, linked to a live feed of the sinking of the old Canadian Navy destroyer, the HMCS Annapolis, Saturday.

The ship, destined to become an artificial reef, sank in record time off Gambier Island, northwest of Vancouver shortly before 1:30 p.m. PT. 

"That was fast," said Larry Reeves, a director with the Artificial Reef Society of B.C., who was narrating the event for the web audience.

The former Navy destroyer sank within minutes of the cutting charges being fired. (Artificial Reef Society of B.C. )

The ship's sinking attracted an online crowd of hundreds including viewers from Saudi Arabia, Italy, Puerto Rico and from across Canada, to a live feed of the event

Former ship's personnel sent in emails, including a former commanding officer, a former sailor living in Phoenix, Ariz., former Sea King helicopter pilot Mike Cummings, who sailed on the Annapolis in the 1970s, and a former cook on the ship.

Shortly after the cutting charges were fired, the ship slipped beneath a relatively calm Pacific Ocean with barely a sound.

Court challenges delayed sinking

The federal court cleared the way for the former Canadian Navy destroyer to be sunk in March.

The Save Halkett Bay Marine Park Society opposed the sinking arguing the ship had a toxic chemical in the anti-fouling paint on the hull.

The decommissioned HMCS Annapolis, pictured in Howe Sound in 2010, is now an artificial reef. (Canadian Press)

But Justice Paul Crampton ruled in March the Environment Canada permit issued to sink the ship was not "unreasonable" because the anti-fouling paint was in a "non-active state" because of its age, and the Canadian guidelines on the cleanup of the ship were consistent with international standards.

The Artificial Reef Society of B.C. has been working since 2008 to sink the former Canadian warship in Halkett Bay Marine Park in Howe Sound to create the eighth artificial reef in B.C. but until today its efforts had been successfully blocked by environmental groups.


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