Historic Civil War shipwreck faces uneasy future in its Marine Sanctuary home

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The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, sixteen miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, NC, is home to America's first such designated shipwreck: the USS Monitor, an iron ship that went down during the Civil War. The designation was given in 1975.

Although the ship is still in reasonable shape, with several sections of it having been removed and put on display at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, VA, other forces are conspiring to damage the area more seriously.

Hurricanes, ocean organisms and salt water, as well as fishing nets and other man-made detritus (not to mention trawling and anchoring vessels) in the busy area threaten the Monitor on a daily basis.

The NOAA released its findings in a report on the stability of the ship in its current location — the first such report.

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