26° 57.850' N
80° 00.480' W
RECOMMENDED MINIMUM TRAINING
The tanker Esso Bonaire III was originally built in 1939 as the Poling Bros. No. 17 for Chester A. Poling, Incorporated. Built by John H. Mathis and Company at Camden, New Jersey, the 402‐ton bulk‐oil carrier was only 146.3 feet in length and 27.2 feet in breadth, with a 4,450 barrel capacity. In 1979, the vessel was sold and renamed twice ‐ first as Tanker 150 No.1, and then later to 1150 No. 1. In 1984 she was sold and given a more conventional name, the Emperador I; in 1985 she operated as the Nicodemus III ; and then finally, she was sold and rechristened the ESSO Bonaire III in 1989.
On March 19, 1989, a US. Coast Guard boarding team discovered a cargo of 50,000 pounds of marijuana hidden in the hull of the Honduran‐flagged Esso Bonaire III after it was intercepted approximately 50 miles east of the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. The forfeited drug smuggler was purchased later that year by Palm Beach County and prepared as an artificial reef. The vessel was stripped down and cleaned, and holes were cut in the hull to facilitate the scuttling. After being towed out on site and partially flooded on July 23, 1989, the ESSO Bonaire III refused to sink. Eventually, the contractor hired to tow the vessel employed their tug Resolve Eagle to ram the ESSO Bonaire III to help send it to the bottom. The wreck of the ESSO Bonaire III rests in approximately 90 feet of water off Jupiter and typically hosts significant numbers of adult goliath grouper, which provides an excellent photographic opportunity.