DEERFIELD BEACH? ? The Rapa Nui Team promises to transform the artificial reef into a marine habitat and dive destination with splendour of public art, following the incident when it flipped over and sunk. This announcement was given by the City of Deerfield Beach who also said that they were disappointed with the incident that occurred.
Moai, the Fifteen Eastern Island-style statues, was planned to launch as new man-made reef installation off Deerfield Beach. A barge brought the 150-feet high and 50-foot wide installation and pulled it for about half a mile offshore. When they started to sink the barge in 70 feet underwater, it flipped over which caused the statues to sink head-first on to the sea bed. The barge overturned on top of the icons which caused most of the statues to be destroyed. One of these statues was seen drifting on the waters and some were spotted beneath the surface, either buried or crushed.
Rapa Nui team said that they utilized industry standards and practices in constructing the man-made reef but admitted that setting the artificial reef needs special expertise.
Dennis MacDonald, an artist, constructed the fifteen statues of Moai with an idea that they protected ancient residents in Rapa Nui, now known as Easter Island. The project was funded by Margaret Blume who thought of combining art, marine conservation, and education and showcases them in public locations. Her team started its planning process to improve the location and make sure that the project is fully completed.
Rapa Nui team was able to raise $500,000 that financed the original project but disclosed that they were planning to raise additional fund following the failed installation of the man-made reef which turned to wreckage. They also admitted that they are uncertain as to how much they would need, although MacDonald still has the molds which he used to fabricate the statues. Some of these statues were twenty-two feet tall.
The ruins of Moai statues and upturned barge were about fifty feet underwater, which is a half-mile from Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier.
Divers are instructed to avoid swimming at the overturned wreck due to potential hazards like bulging rebar and other fragments that can cause serious injuries even to the most professional divers. Right now, divers are advised to look for other sites.