Advanced electronics “Virus” celebrity ship to become $6 million Key West reef
Submitted by Layer8, Network World: Wed, 10/10/2007 - 10:44am
It's not likely anyone would have thought the Cold War missile and NASA spacecraft tracking ship the General Hoyt S. Vandenberg would end up like this: the second largest vessel ever intentionally sunk to become an artificial reef. But that's what it will become next spring when artificial reef experts Reefmakers will sink the 523-foot ship 140 feet of water off of Key West , Fla.
The Vandenberg had more than its 15 minutes of fame. Aside from playing a key role in the Cold War, it also had a major role in the 1999 movie “ Virus , ” which starred Jamie Lee Curtis , William Baldwin and Donald Sutherland . Ironically in the movie the ship was portrayed as a Russian research vessel “bristling with high-tech radar, electronics and other wonders.”
The ship was built as the General Harry Taylor during World War II and was outfitted with all manner of satellite and communications equipment and renamed in 1963. Cleaning and sinking the Vandenberg will cost nearly $6 million.
Key West city officials are planning a full week of activities leading up to the sinking which is scheduled for next May.
Once sunk the ship will become an enormous artificial reef expected to attract marine life, in addition to divers as the tops of some of the satellite dishes will only be 40ft down, researchers say.
The largest ship ever scuttled for an artificial marine habitat is the USS Oriskany , an 888-foot Navy aircraft carrier sunk in May 2006, 21 miles southeast of Pensacola , Fla.
To date, the second largest vessel, the 510-foot landing ship dock Spiegel Grove , was scuttled in May 2002 about six miles off Key Largo.