BVI ART REEF PROJECT
Saving a decorated WWII ship from being scrapped and transformed into and artificial reef.
This is one HUGE collaborative project made up of a network of philanthropists, engineers, artists, entrepreneurs, 3 different non-profits and a number of local BVI businesses that have made all this possible.
For more info, click here.
For more info, click here.
History of the YO-44
The Kodiak Queen, formerly named the ‘YO-44’ was a US Navy Fuel Barge, docked in Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese launched an airstrike against the United States. Accounts of the day by servicemen stationed on the vessel are documented here about how the small vessel managed to steer clear of all bombings despite having to watch the majority of the US Naval fleet and their many of their fellow servicemen become crippled or perish around them.
It is unknown when the vessel was struck from the Naval register but had received one battle star for her services in World War II.
The vessel was later renamed to the Kodiak Queen and converted into a fishing trawler for commercial service in Washington and Alaska from the 1960’s until it was registered in 2005 by Global Marine, LLC, in St. John, USVI. How and why the vessel landed in the BVI is unclear but may have been tied up in Baugher’s Bay, Tortola for safety during Hurricane Earl in 2010 and was never reclaimed after the storm passed.
The Virgin Islands Government officially received the wreck and in 2015 the vessel was contracted out to convert the Kodiak Queen to be sold off as scrap metal. Efforts to halt the dismantling and cutting of the original vessel because of its historical value were successful.
By late 2016, works clean the vessel had started and in January 2017, work started with a team of talented artists to create artwork that would transform the old ship into a unique platform to attract even more sea life.
On April 10th 2017, the Kodiak Queen was sunk off the coast of Virgin Gorda.
ARK's initial involvement with the BVI Art Reef Project was financial management to ensure transparency and accountability of donations under BVI law. These donations were used to purchase what would have otherwise been scrap metal and towards clean-up preparations.
ARK also wrote the project proposal which subsequently led the BVI Government to grant the permission needed for Unite BVI to sink the ship off Virgin Gorda.
Our future role will be to establish coral nurseries in which coral will be grown specifically to later be outplanted on the vessel as an effort to kick-start coral growth.
Our non-profit project partners - Beneath the Waves (Dr. Austin Gallagher), Unite BVI (Sir Richard Branson & Lauren Keil) and ARK (Dr. Shannon Gore)