Last April, a massive 25-meter steel kraken was deliberately sunk into the Caribbean Sea at the top of a decorated WW2 ship. The former Navy Supply Barge and its monstrous passenger were placed underwater to launch a new coral ecosystem, while serving as a state-of-the-art education center for marine researchers and local students of the British Virgin Islands . The project is titled the BVI Art Reef, and aims to use sculptures like the porous kraken as a base for growing transplanted coral.
The Kodiak Queen, formerly a Marine barge named YO-44, was discovered by British photographer Owen Buggy about two and a half years ago on the island of Tortola. Instead of letting the historic ship be demolished for scrap, Buggy approached former boss Sir Richard Branson about collaboration on a restorative art facility. Together with nonprofit Unite BVI, secret artist group Samurai Productions, social justice entrepreneurial group Maverick1000 and nonprofit education of the ocean under the waves, the project was set up with both an installation of ecological art, and a philanthropic measure to rehabilitate native marine species.
25-meter steel Kraken to create artificial coral reef near British Virgin Islands
“It is expected that in a short period of time, the vessel and the artwork will attract a myriad of sea creatures,” said Clive Petrovic consultant on the environmental impact of the BVI Art Reef. “Everything from coral to sponges, sharks and turtles will live in an environment in and around the wreck. The ship will become valuable for future research for local scientists and students. “
To sink this massive vessel, the project sought the assistance of Commercial Diving Services who safely submerged the vessel off the coast of Virgin Gorda Island. It was the first time the ship had been in the water for nearly 17 years, and was driven to its final resting place by a host of boats and helicopters.
Filmmaker Rob Sorrenti filmed both the construction and sinking of the kraken and his ship. The full documentary is currently in post-production, with an estimated release for the beginning of next year. You can watch an excerpt from the upcoming movie below. For more information on visiting BVI Art Reef, and to find out more about its educational programs, visit the project website and Facebook.
A 25-meter Steel Kraken will create an artificial coral reef near the British Virgin Islands video: