September 26, 2021
By Shelby Busenbark
The recent deployment of the Tug Singleton was a great success, with 26 boats watching the controlled sink in St. Lucie County waters on September 25. The 91-foot vessel had been stripped, cleaned and accented with concrete reef balls over the last couple months in preperation for the 165' trip the vessel would take to the bottom of the ocean. After reaching the location, anchors were dropped and the flotilla watched as the final touches were made before the main event.
Workers used large hoses to fill the inside of the boat with water to start the controlled sink, and is soon taking on water on its own after the workers retire to safety on another vessel. Onlookers, including local anglers, officers from FWC and the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, as well as County Commissioner Cathy Townsend, watch as air pockets from below deck bubble to the surface and spray water into the air, signalling that the watercraft is reaching the end of its life above sea level. The Tug Singleton heaves its last breath as it leans back, quickly disappears underneath the surface, and begins its decent to its final resting spot near the Muliphen.
The Muliphen, was an Andromeda-class attack cargo ship turned artifical reef in 1989, after 26 years of service and 19 years of inactivity. The 459 foot ship served the Navy during World War II in 1944 and 1945, earning two two battle stars in the process. She proceeded to provide years of Naval transport, followed by aiding in amphibious operations for over a decade, and later becoming a tool for NATO to conduct a variety of onboard exercises to train Naval Academy midshipmen. The Muliphen now resides in 175 feet of water at 27°24.331′N 80°00.337′W, where the nearby Tug Singleton will now serve as an ancillary reef.
The coordinates of the new Tug Singleton artifical reef are 27°24.953'N 80° 00.986'W, 18 miles southeast of the Fort Pierce inlet, not far from the Oculina Banks.
The event was executed with the help of McCulley Marine Services, Marine Cleanup Initiative and the St. Lucie County Artificial Reef Program. St. Lucie County now redirects their attention to developing a new concrete stockpiling area and starting the process to deploy the Tug Alois.
See a video of the deployment here: