The dormant oil platform known as High Island 389-A rises out of the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles southeast of Galveston. Although its days as a productive contributor of oil are over, below the surface, sea life covers its maze of pipes and schools of fish circle in its shadows. Dive boats periodically stop at the structure, where dolphins, sea turtles and sharks are often spotted.
Now, 30 years after it was built and months after it was abandoned, it is set to be demolished. And when it goes, the lush ecosystem that has grown around it will also vanish. The federal government estimates that the blasts needed to remove the platform will kill 800 fish.
Much of the marine life on or around the structure dies, either from the explosions to separate the platform from its supports or when it is toppled or towed to shore and recycled as scrap metal.