- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

APTOS, Calif. (AP) - Recent El Nino storms are battering a landmark concrete ship long ago beached on the California coast, officials said Wednesday.

This winter’s especially powerful surf has shifted part of the fractured SS Palo Alto, causing pieces of it to break off and fall into the pounding waves, KSBW-TV in Salinas reports (https://bit.ly/1UO3UXr). The beloved ship is in Aptos, 80 miles south of San Francisco.

Officials say they have no plans to stop the erosion that will eventually turn the ship into habitat for sea life.

“It’s going to naturally break down and decay,” said Bill Wolcott, public safety superintendent for the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

The tanker was built nearly a century ago of concrete and brick, and a short time later moved to its current resting place. It was beached and served as a short-lived amusement attraction with a dance floor and heated swimming pool, according to the state.

Since its heyday, it has broken apart, and officials say recent storms are accelerating its decay.

The ship, however, will be there a lot longer in some form, said Gary Griggs, director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it sits there another century,” he said.

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Information from: KSBW-TV.

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