HII announced July 6th that its Newport News Shipbuilding division partnered with the Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC) to donate and sink a former dry dock caisson gate offshore, giving it new life as part of an artificial reef.
The donation is aligned with HII’s sustainability efforts to protect our shared resources and reflects a corporate commitment to a sustainable, resilient and inclusive future.
Caisson gates are used at the harbor end of a dry dock, with pipes inside allowing for water from the James River to enter when NNS needs to flood the dry dock. This particular gate, originally put into service at NNS in 1967, was part of a dry dock no longer in use at the shipyard.
NNS crews worked to prepare the caisson gate, ensuring that it was environmentally ready to take on its new mission. That included stripping all loose paint, removing electrical items and ensuring all oils and solvents were removed. The gate was also ballasted for sinking to ensure it landed on the seabed properly.
In late June, the gate left NNS, was towed offshore and sunk. It is now taking on new life as part of the VMRC Tower Reef, which is already home to multiple barges, other vessels and subway cars.