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‘Perfect Storm’ Ship Becomes Part of Artificial Reef off Cape May

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tamaroa, featured in the hit book and movie, “The Perfect Storm,” is now part of an artificial reef that is enhancing fishing opportunities off Cape May. Credits: Coleen Marine Inc.
The Tamaroa, formerly the Navy fleet tug Zuni, is now part of the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Reef, located 26 nautical miles southeast of Cape May, Credits: The Sportfishing Fund
The Tamaroa was featured in Sebastian Junger's best-selling book and the hit movie, “The Perfect Storm,” starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg Credits: U.S. Coast Guard
Tamaroa gained fame for its rescue efforts during the 1991 Halloween Storm — a rare convergence of a hurricane and a massive low pressure system from Canada — chronicled in “The Perfect Storm.” Credits: U.S. Coast Guard

TRENTON — A 205-foot vessel immortalized for its service as a Coast Guard cutter — and later featured in “The Perfect Storm” book and movie — is now part of an artificial reef comprised of old military ships that is enhancing fishing opportunities off New Jersey and Delaware.

The sinking on May 10 of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tamaroa, formerly the Navy fleet tug Zuni, at the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Reef, located 26 nautical miles southeast of Cape May, was carried out by Coleen Marine Inc., a contractor for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), in partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The vessel was featured in the best-selling book and hit movie, “The Perfect Storm.” As the Zuni, the vessel supported landings by the U.S. Marine Corps in the pivotal 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima. It is believed to be the last surviving vessel that directly supported those operations.

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“We are proud to partner with Delaware in making this deployment a reality and giving this venerable vessel a chance at continued service, this time of a different nature,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. “Anglers of all ages will now be able to visit this spot for many years to come to enjoy the varied marine life this ship will attract. Sport divers will also have a unique opportunity to explore the Tamaroa's decks, bulwarks and passageways, perhaps soaking in the ship's storied history in the process."
The cutter was deployed in water more than 120 feet deep after patches were removed from holes that were pre-cut into its hull. The Zuni/Tamaroa joined the former Army freighter and Navy support ship Shearwater, the minesweeper Gregory Poole, and the 563-foot destroyer U.S.S. Arthur W. Radford, the largest vessel ever deployed off the East Coast. The reef, established 10 years ago specifically for former military vessels, is jointly managed by New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

The Tamaroa's Storied Coast Guard Career

For much of its Coast Guard career, the Tamaroa served out of New York City, and toward the end of its service it was based in New Castle, N.H. Its Coast Guard roles included fisheries enforcement, drug interdiction and immigration enforcement in locations as far away as the Caribbean, the Straits of Florida and the vast North Atlantic fishing ground of Georges Bank.

Over its nearly five-decade Coast Guard career, the Tamaroa, also known as the Tam, responded to numerous sinking and disabled fishing and pleasure boats, took part in the rescue of passengers from a sinking ocean liner, recovered bodies from an airliner that crashed off the coast of New Jersey, rescued hundreds of Haitian migrants from overloaded boats, saved the crew of a storm-battered Soviet freighter, and intercepted drug runners and smugglers.

But the Tamaroa gained fame for its rescue efforts during the 1991 Halloween Storm — a rare convergence of a hurricane and a massive low pressure system from Canada — that battered the East Coast and was chronicled in Sebastian Junger's bestselling book, “The Perfect Storm,” made into a hit movie starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg.

The Tamaroa first assisted in the rescue of three people from a sailboat caught in the storm. Then, battling massive swells and making eight separate approaches, the vessel rescued four of five crew members from an Air National Guard rescue helicopter that ran out of fuel and had to ditch 90 nautical miles south of Montauk, Long Island. The fifth member was lost at sea. The Tamaroa and its crew received Coast Guard commendations for the missions.

The Birth of Artificial Reefs off New Jersey's Coast

The N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife currently holds permits for 15 artificial reef sites — 13 in federal waters — including the Del-Jersey-Land Reef — and two in state waters. The reefs, encompassing a total of 25 square miles of ocean floor, are made up of a variety of materials such as concrete and steel, fishing boats and barges, even subway cars and Army tanks.
These materials provide surfaces for a wide diversity of marine organisms to grow on the otherwise flat and featureless continental shelf, ultimately providing habitat for many species of fish and shellfish. DEP studies have shown that these materials are colonized quickly with organisms such as algae, barnacles, mussels and blue crabs that attract smaller fish which, in turn, attract species that are popular with recreational anglers.
Older vessels such as the Tamaroa are ideally suited for artificial reefs "because of all the voids and cavities in them below deck - they're really the perfect sanctuary for fish," said Delaware reef coordinator Jeff Tinsman.
"Not long after the sinking, the fish will start to come outside her hull and decks to feed," Tinsman said. "Within a few weeks, blue mussels, sponges, barnacles and soft corals will attach themselves to the structure, and in about a year the reef will be fully productive — for fish and anglers alike."

The Tamaroa's Early Life as the Naval Tug Zuni

The U.S. Navy commissioned the vessel on Oct. 9, 1943, as the fleet tug Zuni. In February 1945, the Zuni arrived three days after the initial amphibious assault of Japanese-held Iwo Jima by the U.S. Marine Corps, assisting follow-up landing craft in funneling more troops and equipment into the attack on the barren volcanic island southeast of Japan.
The Zuni, nicknamed the Mighty Z, towed damaged ships to safety and rescued hundreds of crew members from torpedoed ships during its war service. The Zuni was decorated with four battle stars, among many other honors. Upon its transfer to the Coast Guard after the war, the Zuni was refitted for service as a cutter and renamed the Tamaroa, after a Native-American tribe that once inhabited the central Mississippi River Valley.
Among its many exploits during 48 years of Coast Guard service, the Tamaroa rescued passengers from the Andrea Doria, an Italian luxury liner that sank off Nantucket on July 26, 1956, after colliding with a Swedish liner. Five weeks earlier, the Tamaroa had assisted in recovering bodies from a Venezuelan airliner that crashed 32 miles off Asbury Park.
In March 1984, the Tamaroa assisted in the rescue of the crew of a Soviet freighter that foundered in bad weather off New Hampshire. The Russian crew went on to enjoy a circuit tour of New York and Washington, D.C. that included a warm welcome at a Gloucester County diner.
Five years later, the Tamaroa saved hundreds of Haitian migrants while on patrol in the Caribbean. The ship also made a special mission to save a Cuban man who had paddled 40 miles out to sea on tire inner-tubes.
The Coast Guard retired the Tamaroa in 1994, and donated the vessel to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on the Hudson River in New York City. A former crewman started a group to restore the vessel. Work was under way in Virginia when a 2011 storm flooded the Tamaroa's engine room. Its hull also showed numerous signs of failure, making restoration impossible.
Delaware paid for the bulk of the acquisition of the cutter, preparation and sinking, assisted by the DEP, which received funding from the Ann E. Clarke Foundation and the Sportfishing Fund.

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Missing in Warren: Have You Seen Jax?

March 22, 2018

WARREN, NJ - Have you seen Jax? Jax is a young Husky missing from the Reinman Road area on Thursday afternoon.

His family says, “Our dog ran out of the yard. He is a husky and less than a year old. Very friendly and responds to Jax. Please share and contact me if you see him! Thank you so much 😞 he does not like cars by the way!”

Contact Colby ...

UPDATE: Four’Easter May Bring Another Foot of Snow, Be Prepared for School Closures and Power Outages in Warren Township and Surrounding Area

March 20, 2018

WARREN, NJ - Happy Spring. Get the milk, bread and eggs. Get the generator, gas and chainsaw and be prepared to lose another day of spring break if Wednesday is called a snow day. Heavy mixed precipitation is expected with snow accumulations of 8 to 14 inches in our area by Wednesday evening when the fourth Nor’easter of the year hits. #foureaster is trending, and Winter does ...

Warren Township to Collect Winter Storm Quinn Tree Debris

WARREN, NJ - The Department of Public Works of Warren Township will be collecting tree and brush debris from all Warren Township residents in the aftermath of Winter Storm Quinn.

Due to the intense effects of Storm Quinn that impacted Warren Township on March 7, the Township Committee has authorized and directed the DPW to. begin the collection process ...

Somerset County Opens Emergency Shelter for Storm Victims at RVCC

BRANCHBURG, NJ – Due to the extended power outages in Somerset County as a result of Winter Storm Quinn and the expected cold temperatures over the next few days, the Somerset County Office of Emergency Management has partnered with the American Red Cross to open a shelter for county residents at Raritan Valley Community College.

The shelter opened as of 5:30 p.m. Saturday, ...

Update from Warren Office of Emergency Management on Saturday, Mar. 10

WARREN, NJ - The Warren Township Office of Emergency Management has provided a timeline and Jane Asch at Warren’s Office of Emergency Management has updated storm recovery information as of 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10 with the following:



The most pressing issue is restoration of power. It may be helpful to understand the triage system both JCP&L and ...

Siblings Host Dinner in Support of Our House

March 23, 2018

In the spirit of giving back, one family has made a difference in the lives of adults with developmental disabilities by hosting a dinner and silent auction at Sette restaurant in Bernardsville on March 17, 2018, raising $26,000 for the non-profit, Our House, Inc., of New Providence.

Philip and Maria Provenzano, of Nutley, and Angela Provenzano Schaub, of Westfield, organized the fundraising ...

North Plainfield Firefighters will host their 15th St. Baldrick’s Day head-shaving event on March 24

The North Plainfield Firefighters will host their 15th St.Baldrick’s Day head-shaving event on March 24th, 1pm at fire headquarters.


The annual event welcomes volunteer “Shavee’s” into the firehouse to brave-the-shave as a sign of solidarity with kids who lose their hair to cancer treatments. A small but meaningful and significant ...


South Plainfield – Joanne Gallo, 68, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Warren, NJ, passed away ...
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AAA Cautions: Daylight Saving Could Affect Daily Commute

March 10, 2018

WARREN, NJ - AAA is reminding drivers that the change to Daylight Saving Time may create distractions on the roadway and challenges for drivers who lost an hour of sleep. Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday at 2 a.m.

“As we spring forward, drivers should be aware that the time change will also mean changes to driving habits,” said Robert Sinclair, Manager of Media ...

Freeholders Endorse Armed Security in all Somerset County Schools

March 23, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Following the Parkland, Fla school shooting last month in which 17 students and staff were killed, Somerset County Freeholder Director Patrick Scaglione and Freeholder Mark Caliguire Thursday announced that the freeholder board will fund a second armed school resource officer at the county Vocational & Technical High School in Bridgewater, and urged every school ...

Weekend Ideas in Somerset County, Plus Easter Egg Hunts

Things to do in Somerset County: 

Weekend 3.23 to 3.25

1. 5k Race to Wellness, Duke Island Park

2. A Virtual Tour of the Moon, Duke Farms

3. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? – Opening Weekend, Villagers Theatre

4. KidPreneurs, Bridgewater Commons

5. Goodnight Moon & The Runaway Bunny, Theatre at RVCC

6.  Ahoy Mate! A Voyage ...

Warren Township Ranks as 25th Safest City in America and 6th in New Jersey for 2018, National Council for Home Safety and Security Says

WARREN, NJ - Warren Township is the sixth safest city in New Jersey and also ranks as No. 25 in the Top 100 Safest Cities in America for 2018, the National Council for Home Safety and Security says in its latest ranking.


“As Mayor, I believe that I speak for the entire Township Committee regarding our appreciation of the efforts of our Police Department and all ...

Recycling Will be Collected as Scheduled in Warren and Watchung, Senior Centers Closed

WARREN, NJ - Recycling will be picked up as scheduled today, March 22 in Warren, Watchung, and Martinsville. Leave recyclables at the curb. The Somerset County Recycling Division thanks residents for their patience and cooperation.

You can view the 2018 Recycling Collection Schedule and more at http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/public-works/recycling


For those ...

Weekend Ideas in Somerset County, Plus Easter Egg Hunts

March 23, 2018

Things to do in Somerset County: 

Weekend 3.23 to 3.25

1. 5k Race to Wellness, Duke Island Park

2. A Virtual Tour of the Moon, Duke Farms

3. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? – Opening Weekend, Villagers Theatre

4. KidPreneurs, Bridgewater Commons

5. Goodnight Moon & The Runaway Bunny, Theatre at RVCC

6.  Ahoy Mate! A Voyage ...

Travel Fun - Senator Cory Booker is Bested by Senator Jeff Flake in a Snowball Fight on Capital Hill

WASHINGTON, DC - Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Cory Booker of New Jersey had a spirited snow ball fight in front of Capital Hill.  This combines multiple things that we like at TAPintoTravels.  It includes extended work travel, a great tourist city, and two grown men having fun.

Is it immature?  A little. Is it funny?  Definitely.

The sad part is Cory got bested by ...

The Perfect Travel Pack - The Airport Repack Because of a Delayed Flight - What You Really Need

If you have traveled a lot, you have had a canceled flight.  Do you know how to do an airport in such cases?

Well, on a recent canceled flight on Norwegian Air from Berlin to New York, we had to do it.  Our experience is now your gain.

The slide show above shows you step by step, how it was accomplished.  Here we will explain it.

For starters, think about your ...

St. Patrick’s Day Sobriety Check in Belmar/Neptune Area on Tap by State Police

March 17, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Giving no details on location and time, New Jersey State Police plans to conduct a sobriety checkpoint on Saturday, March 17 in the area of Belmar and Neptune Township,

The state police made the announcement on its Facebook page, alerting motorists that state troopers will be pulling over vehicles at this undisclosed location and time  “looking for signs of ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...