SINK A SHIP AND SEND TOURISTS TO THE BOTTOM TO SEE IT (VIDEO FROM FLORIDA)
Sinking of the Ana Cecilia:
Florida's Newest Dive Tourism Site
In The Palm Beaches
The Ana Cecilia cargo ship, once used in both an attempt to smuggle $10 million worth of cocaine into the United States and as the first ship to carry cargo from Miami to Cuba in 2012 after 50 years of embargo, now has a new destiny underwater off the coast of The Palm Beaches as an artificial reef. The Ana Cecilia is the 45th ship to be scuttled for dive touristsin Palm Beach County in recent decades. The Palm Beaches are home to 151 artificial reefs, including the Ana Cecilia, which provide a fascinating experience for divers.
The ship was sunk on July 13, 2016, 1.25 miles off the Lake Worth Inlet in 85 feet of water. Divers are already visiting the ship as the video https://youtu.be/8RkIcmYwaGw by Scuba Nation (posted by the county) shows!
The Ana Cecilia was a 170-foot Halter Marine general cargo ship built in 1972. America's Department of Homeland Security led an investigation targeting the importation of narcotics in coastal freighters into the United States. The Ana Cecilia was searched and 386 bricks of cocaine with a street value of more than $10 million was found. This led to the seizure of the cargo ship.
The captain and owner of the Ana Cecilia, Ernso Borgella, was indicted and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to nine years in prison. The ship was forfeited in January 2016 and Florida's Palm Beach County took over ownership three months later.
“Over the course of Ana Cecilia's lifetime, she made many amazing voyages,” reads a Palm Beach media briefing story. “The ship was the first of her kind to carry cargo from Miami to Cuba in 2012, and she was the first cargo shipment since the embargo 50 years earlier. Unfortunately, later that year, she was taking on water, which ultimately ended the voyages to Cuba.”
“In 2015, suspicions surrounding the Ana Cecilia were raised,” continues the briefing. “As a result of our efforts, the cocaine the ship carried didn't make its way into our communities and our homes. It gives me great pleasure knowing that a cargo ship once used to smuggle illicit drugs into our country is now being turned into an artificial reef here in Florida.”
“For more than 50 years, Palm Beach County has been creating underwater habitats out of materials like ships, limestone rock, and concrete,” said Palm Beach County District 1 Vice Mayor Hal R. Valeche. “These artificial reefs provide numerous benefits, the most important being that they take pressure off natural coral reef formations by providing additional places for fishing and diving.”
"The Ana Cecilia will soon become a diver's dream, bustling with underwater activity as she is colonized by algae, sponges, and corals to support a diverse community of colorful marine life including Goliath Grouper, sea turtles, thorny oysters, and green moray eels.”