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Artificial Reefs Around the World

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For years now, governments around the world have been sinking large pieces of outdated or damaged equipment into the ocean, turning them into artificial reefs. Subway cars, naval ships, tanks and more rest on the sea floor, making homes for sea life and attracting divers. Artists have been busy as well, erecting underwater sculptures and memorials. Collected here are images from the past few years of some of these man-made reefs, both big and small. [27 photos]

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Divers swim above the former missile-tracking ship Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key West, Florida May 21, 2010. Algae and sponges are already growing on exterior surfaces of of the 523-foot-long vessel and more than 113 different species of fish are now calling it home. The artificial reef was intentionally sunk May 27, 2009. (Reuters/Don Kincaid/Florida Keys News Bureau)
Divers swim above the former missile-tracking ship Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key West, Florida May 21, 2010. Algae and sponges are already growing on exterior surfaces of of the 523-foot-long vessel and more than 113 different species of fish are now calling it home. The artificial reef was intentionally sunk May 27, 2009. (Reuters/Don Kincaid/Florida Keys News Bureau)
The Oriskany, a decommissioned aircraft carrier, was towed 24 miles off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, Wednesday, May 17, 2006, to form an artificial reef. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy/Jeffrey P. Kraus) #
The decommissioned aircraft carrier Oriskany is sunk off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, on Wednesday, May 17, 2006, to form an artificial reef. The 888-foot ship took about 37 minutes to sink below the surface. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy/Jeffrey P. Kraus) #
The sunken USS Oriskany's radar boom is shown the coast of Pensacola, Florida on Sept. 2, 2007. The Navy sank the aircraft carrier in May 2006 to create an artificial reef. (AP Photo/www.DrDive.com, Jim Meyers) #
Figures are seen in underwater sculpture installation "The Silent Evolution" by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor between Cancun and Isla Mujeres December 11, 2010. Taylor used "life casts" made from materials that encourage coral growth to build the installation on the sea bed off the coast of Cancun. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
Part of an underwater sculpture called "The Silent Evolution" by artist Jason de Caires Taylor on the sea floor between Cancun and Isla Mujeres December 11, 2010. The installation will form a new home for a variety of aquatic creatures at the Cancun and Isla Mujeres National Marine Park and is designed to reduce the impact over half a million tourists have on the area's natural reefs every year, the artist said. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
Tugboats tow the decommissioned U.S. military missile-tracking Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg past the historic Custom House in Key West, Florida to a point about seven miles south of the island city May 26, 2009. The 523-foot-long ship, that once tracked space launches off Cape Canaveral, Florida, and also monitored Soviet missile launches during the Cold War, was scheduled be scuttled off Key West on Wednesday, to become an artificial reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. (Reuters/Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau) #
The former U.S. Air Force missile-tracking ship Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg slowly disappears beneath the surface of the ocean after cutting charges were detonated seven miles off Key West, Florida May 27, 2009. (Reuters/Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau) #
In this image made from video released by the Florida Keys News Bureau, a remote onboard camera records the former U.S. Air Force missile-tracking ship Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg sinking after cutting charges were detonated Wednesday, May 27, 2009, seven miles off Key West, Florida. It sank in one minute and 54 seconds. (AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Steve Panariello and Andy Newman) #
Only air bubbles and smoke remains after the former U.S. Air Force missile-tracking ship Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg was sunk Wednesday. May 27, 2009. The ship now rests in 140 feet of water in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. (AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Andy Newman) #
This Friday, May 29, 2009 photo shows divers exploring the superstructure of the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg artificial reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key West, Florida, during a preview dive for journalists Friday, May 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Haig Jacobs) #
An explosion is seen on the boat "Gran Roque" before sending it to the bottom of the Guabina Bay in the waters of the Aragua State, about 110 miles west of Caracas, Venezuela, late September 15, 2003. (Reuters/Howard Yanes) #
25 retired tanks from the Thai military are loaded on a ship at Bangkok port, Thailand, on Friday, July 30, 2010. The tanks will be dumped into the Gulf of Thailand to serve as artificial reefs and as habitat for marine animals. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit) #
Officials dump a Chinese-made T-69 armored tank into the Gulf of Thailand, near the southern Narathiwat province August 9, 2010. The 25 decommissioned Thai-army tanks will form artificial corals to improve the marine ecosystems and increase fish stock in the area. (Reuters/Surapan Boonthanom) #
A worker steam-cleans the interior of a decommissioned "Redbird" subway car Thursday, Aug. 16, 2001, in New York. The retired cars are stripped and cleaned, then loaded on barges for a trip to Delaware, where they will be dumped into the ocean to become artificial reefs at a site 15 miles south of Cape May, New Jersey. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) #
As a workman looks on, two New York City subway cars disappear into the Atlantic Ocean after being pushed off a barge 19 miles east of Cape Henlopen, Delaware, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2001. The Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife sank 27 subway cars in 70-90 feet of water to form Artificial Reef Site 11. (AP Photo/Roberto Borea) #
HMNZS Wellington, a frigate of the Royal New Zealand Navy, was scuttled off the south coast of Wellington, New Zealand, to become a living artificial reef and diving attraction in 2005. Original here. (Pieter Pieterse / CC BY-ND)#
Spectators watch as the Texas Clipper goes under in a controlled sinking near South Padre Island, Texas, Saturday, November 17, 2007, creating a new artificial reef for marine life. (AP Photo/Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept., Earl Nottingham) #
The Spiegel Grove begins to roll, June 10, 2002, in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo. The ship sunk upside-down prematurely May 17 and salvage crews worked for three weeks to get ready for June 10 rollover. (Reuters/Andy Newman) #
Fish swim near a lion sculpture in the Neptune Memorial Reef Tuesday, April 29, 2008, 3.25 miles off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida. Creators of the reef hope it will become a memorial for the dead and a diving site. Instead of a burial funeral, people can pay to have their remains placed in one the reef's structures after their death. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) #
Stripped down armored personnel carriers are dumped into the Atlantic Ocean Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006, offshore from the Little River Inlet near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The retired APCs are part of the Artificial Reef-Ex Project and were placed on the James Caudle Memorial Reef to attract fish for sport fishing. (AP Photo/The Sun News, Randall Hill) #
A tank sunk by the Jordanian government into the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea as an artificial reef for sea life and a tourist attraction for snorkelers and scuba divers. Original here. (Dan Lundberg / CC BY-SA)#
Ex-Royal Navy frigate, The Scylla, is sunk amidst explosions March 27, 2004 off Whitsands Bay, Cornwall, England. (Carl De Souza/Getty Images) #
A barge carries 40 retired New York City subway cars near Ocean City, Md., Wednesday Nov. 26, 2008. The cars were sunk in an area known as the "Bass Grounds" to form a reef for marine habitat. (AP Photo/Chuck Snyder) #
An old New York City subway car is dropped from a barge into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Delaware, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008. (AP Photo/Mike Derer) #
A New York city subway car splashes into the ocean about six miles off of Chincoteauge, Virginia, on Thursday, June 26, 2008. Forty-four stainless steel subway cars were dropped in the Blackfish Bank Reef area as part of a Virginia Marine Resources Commission artificial reef program. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Steve Earley) #
A figure stands in underwater sculpture installation "The Silent Evolution" by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor, on the sea floor between Cancun and Isla Mujeres on December 11, 2010. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #

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