Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vandenberg Set to be Sunk

The "Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg" is set to be sunk as an artificial reef later this morning -- between 10AM and 11AM EST.

UnderwaterTimes has the details:

Background: The retired missile-tracking ship Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg is destined to become the next artificial reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, just south of Key West. The 523-foot-long Vandenberg is to be one of the three largest ships in the world ever intentionally sunk to become an artificial reef. It is steeped in history, once serving as a troop transport ship and then converted for the purposes of defending the U.S. against missile attacks. It was involved in surveillance during the Cold War. It tracked Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and even early Space Shuttle launches. The Vandenberg also played a role as a Russian science ship in the 1999 motion picture "Virus" starring Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin and Donald Sutherland. The project is to provide a new underwater attraction for Key West, creating new marine habitats and relieving sport diving pressure off natural coral reefs. It will also anchor the southwest leg of the Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail.

How big is it?

Displacement: 17,250 tons

Length: 522' 10"

Beam: 71' 6"

Draft: 26' 6"

Height: 100 feet from keel to the highest point. We have trimmed the stacks and antennas to allow the required 40 feet of clearance from the surface when the ship is deployed at 140 feet. Much of the superstructure will be just 40-50 feet below the surface. The keel and the four 8-ton anchors will rest at 140 feet.

Where will it be sunk?

At 24.27 N, 81.44 W, between Western Sambo and Sand Key, and south of Hawks Channel marker #32 It is about 7 miles offshore.

The site was carefully chosen ten years ago, with input from many interested parties. Permits from eighteen different agencies define the location.

Over 130 dives were conducted to survey the site. It is on hard barren bottom with no coral and no submerged cultural resources (historic wrecks).

How will they sink it?

Cutting charges will open holes in the lower deck. Water pressure will push the cut-out plates inward, water will flow in at the bottom and air will vent out the top.

The ship has tons of ballast near the keel, which was placed there to create a stable platform for the big tracking antennas.

It will sink straight down in less than three minutes.

Continue reading...

Let's hope it goes down without a hitch!

Bookmark and Share


Absolutmark said...

Hi Neutral Dive Gear. Having dived the Keys a few years back (my first open water dives on my honeymoon) I've now got a reason to come back. Lets hope the sinking went well. Thanks for the message on my blog, I've added you to my blog roll (you're the first)

Neutral Dive Gear said...


Terrific! We've added you to our illustrious blog roll as well. Glad to connect.

Keep diving!