The wreck of the American Civil War ironclad USS Monitor is at risk from human activity and natural deterioration.
The wreck of the USS Monitor was designated the first national marine sanctuary in 1975.
The sanctuary, which lies 16 miles off of Cape Hatteras, N.C., includes a column of water one nautical mile in diameter that extends down 240 feet to the seabed around the wreck. The first-of-its-kind assessment of the sanctuary’s archaeological and living marine resources serves as a baseline for monitoring changes to the wreck and sanctuary.
Wreck of USS Monitor is threatened
According to a newly released report from NOAA, corrosion, strong currents, hurricanes, high water temperatures, highly salty water, and even discarded fishing gear tangled in the wreck threaten its stability in the long run. Looting of the wreck is not currently a major problem but remains a concern due to diving, boating and fishing in the area.
Sea life, however, is abundant within the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, which contains the shipwreck. The ship-turned-artificial-reef supports a variety of corals and sponges, along with black seabass, oyster toadfish and great barracuda. Water quality in the sanctuary is generally good, with no evidence of any risks to human health.