Seized Drug Ship to Start New Life as Artificial Reef

Around noon on April 25th, Miami-Dade DERM expanded the County’s already extensive Artificial Reef Program by creating yet another artificial reef in the waters of the Atlantic about 3.5 nautical miles east of Key Biscayne.

The operation, conducted in cooperation with the Miami Alliance of Dive Operators, will involve scuttling the M/V Princess Britney, a 165-foot freighter that was seized by the U.S. Customs Service, now known as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. Customs Service seized the M/V Princess Britney as part of Operation River Walk after inspectors discovered more than 156 pounds (70 kilograms) of cocaine hidden underneath the deck in the engine room on October 12, 2002. The cocaine had a wholesale value of more than $1.3 million.

The Princess Britney was the 15th ship to be seized on the Miami River, during Operation River Walk, and subsequently became the fifth ship to be donated by CBP to the Miami-Dade Artificial Reef Program in the last 22 months.

This freighter will become the newest addition to Miami-Dade’s Key Biscayne Artificial Reef Site as it comes to rest on the sandy bottom 90 feet below the surface. In addition to becoming a popular destination for experienced recreational divers, this ship will quickly provide new habitat for numerous fish species, and will eventually serve as a foundation for corals, sponges, and other reef-building marine life.

The anticipated coordinates of the new reef are: Latitude 25° 42.400′ North Longitude 80° 05.200′ West

For more information: Contact: Brian Flynn(DERM) 305.372.6850 Tim McIntosh (DERM) 305.372.6858 Zach Mann (CBP) 800.973.2867

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