Custom Built Kraken On An Old WWII Ship Will Become An Artificial Reef
An 80-foot mesh Kraken has been built on an old, derelict WWII era ship in order to provide for the fish and other creatures living just off the coast of the British Virgin Islands. In today’s world, natural coral reefs are being extinguished on a daily basis, and a solution to this problem is desperately needed. Artificial reefs aren’t necessarily a new thing. In fact, other similar such projects have been undertaken – with some going from underwater sculptures to subway cars. Nevertheless, this current project, known as BVI Art Reef is the most evocative of them all.
It’s specifically built so as to accommodate transplanted coral. It’s made out of a WWII fuel barge on which an 80-foot Kraken was built. Named the Kodiak Queen, the BVI Art Reef is also open to divers, as well as marine biologists and local students who want to know more about the coral reef environment off the coast of the British Virgin Islands.
The ship itself was one of the five like it that fought during the Pearl Harbor attack. And it was supposed to be scrapped before photographer Owen Buggy found out about its historical importance, and brought the idea to Sir Richard Branson, who lives on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.
After several years of meticulous research and planning, the Kodiak Queen was sunk into the Carribean Sea in April 2017, as a way to attract divers, as well as to promote a healthy ecosystem for many marine creatures to thrive in. This project united several organizations in the hopes of making the world a better place for all. These organizations are Branson’s nonprofit Unite B.V.I., artist group Secret Samurai Productions, social justice entrepreneurial group Maverick1000, and ocean education nonprofit Beneath the Waves.
The entire reef that will take root on the derelict ship, as well as the huge Kraken that was built on it, will help feed and house many of the local species, such as the over-fished Goliath Grouper. Photos taken in July by dive-photographer Michael Shronk already show signs of what’s to come – signs of life that have already taken root there – with coral growing on the installation and fish swimming in and out of the giant tentacles.
“The BVI Art Reef gives us a unique platform to capture people’s attention on the importance of addressing ocean conservation and in particular, combat climate change, protect our coral reefs, and rehabilitate vulnerable marine species,” shares Branson. “This is an incredible opportunity to create one of the most meaningful dive sites in the world.”