Carrier's Departure From Pensacola Delayed

The on again, off again departure of the aircraft carrier Oriskany from Pensacola has been delayed.

A contractor has been tearing out decks and hatches in a plan to turn the 888-foot ship into an artificial reef about 22 miles off Pensacola, but an environmental review is delaying the sinking.

Hurricane season worries are pushing the Navy to send the ship to Texas. Crews will have to seal some of the openings to get the ship ready for towing across the Gulf of Mexico. It will be mid-June before the ship leaves.

The Navy already has spent more than $12 million on the Oriskany reef project. The work is expected to be a model for disposing of decommissioned ships.

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