Old Texas A&M ship becomes artificial reef

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (AP) - A World War II ship that served for decades as a training vessel for Texas A&M University sea cadets was sunk in open waters off the Texas coast today.

The Texas Clipper now begins its new mission as an underwater habitat and diving destination.

The 473-foot, 7,000-ton ship went under about 17 miles offshore of South Padre Island.

The operation to turn the Texas Clipper into an artificial reef cost $4 million and has taken 10 years.

The sunken ship is expected to become an attraction for divers and fishermen, and to provide an economic boost for the South Padre Island area.

The ship began life as the USS Queens, and was commissioned as a Navy troop transport ship.

It was among the vessels in the Pacific at the battle of Iwo Jima, and was used in the American occupation of Japan until it was decommissioned in 1946.

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