The retired aircraft carrier USS Oriskany will be returned to Texas to ride out the hurricane season while environmental studies continue to determine if it can be safely sunk as an artificial reef off the coast of Northwest Florida.
The carrier is about as long as three football fields. It was used in the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War. It would be the largest ship ever purposely sunk to serve as a reef, but the project has run into repeated environmental snags.
The Navy said Tuesday the ship will be towed later this month to a Navy Reserve Fleet facility at Beaumont, Texas.
The Navy says it could remain there until after the after the 2006 hurricane season if there are additional delays in obtaining a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency.