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A beacon of light that has guided ships into New York Harbor for 41 years, Ambrose Light has shined its last strobe.

Dismantling of the faltering light tower, located 12 miles off the Staten Island coast, will begin Monday after the Coast Guard decided it is not cost-effective to rebuild it.

After Bahamian oil tanker Axel Spirit rammed into the 76-foot steel tower November 3 -- the third allision between a ship and the light tower since 1996 -- damaging its legs, the light has been unreliable. It was recently replaced with new parts after the first two incidents. A Coast Guard spokeswoman said the structure is likely headed for a scrap metal yard.

"It is not cost-effective to rebuild the light every time it is struck," said Chief Warrant Officer Darren Pauly, a Coast Guard Sector New York Aids to Navigation officer. Ambrose Light is no longer needed since light-emitting diodes [LEDs] on large buoys "provide the same purpose and are easier to maintain," he said.

The Coast Guard also plans to be extend Ambrose Channel to make it wider and more navigable for larger, commercial ships. The Sandy Hook Pilots Association station will also be moved out five miles, allowing for "safer way of doing business," said Ed Sweeney, marine superintendent for the St. George-based association.
thx lisa!
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