Vandenberg News 25.05.09

Carmen keeps us updated, thanks for the info, hope everything will work like planned!

Carmen hält uns auf dem laufenden. Hier ein kurzes update, Versenken geplant für übermorgen: Mittwoch 27.05.09

Carmen Powers has sent you the following story:

Tom, Only 48 hours until the Vandenberg will go down. Watch it on the web, Wednesday May, 27th. Carmen I plan to send pictures!

VANDENBERG COUNTDOWN: And down she goes! (hopefully). Go to the News section for complete coverage

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skinney@keynoter.com

Posted – Saturday, May 23, 2009 11:00 AM EDT

vandyarrive

By ANDY NEWMAN

Onlookers watch as the the retired U.S. missile tracking ship arrives in Key West on April 22 after the ship was towed from a Norfolk, Va., shipyard.

A decade in the works. More than $8 million spent to get it done. A last-minute save by a local bank when a federal judge ordered it sold at public auction.

And Wednesday morning, it could all be over in less than four minutes.

That’s when the USS Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg is scheduled to be scuttled seven miles off Key West — and that’s how long it’s estimated for the 522-foot former military vessel to sink and settle in as an artificial reef.

„This project has taken a long time and there were an amazing array of ever-smaller and ever-more flaming hoops that we were made to jump through. And the project literally was sunk a million times,“ says Joe Weatherby, a Key West dive captain who envisioned the Vandenberg scuttling more than a decade ago.

„It should all go the way it’s supposed to go for the first time in 10 years,“ says Weatherby, who works for the New Jersey-based Reefmakers LLC.

Weather permitting, it starts Tuesday morning, when tugboats, along with pilot and tender boats, guide the Vandenberg from her berthing at the East Quay Wall at the Truman Waterfront to a point about seven miles south of Key West International Airport.

In transit, officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Key West Police Department and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, will maintain a 500-yard perimeter around the behemoth.

That perimeter will remain intact once the Vandenberg arrives at the sink location. Four huge anchors, about eight tons apiece, will secure the former military ship to the ocean floor, 140 feet beneath the surface.

Wednesday morning, plans call for the ship to be scuttled right around 10 a.m. (however, weather and other factors could delay it).

FWC officers will extend the security perimeter to a 1-mile radius around the ship for the sinking and the Federal Aviation Administration will issue a flight restriction for a 1-mile radius and 12,500 feet above the ship

Pre-rigged cutting charges will blast holes in the hull and water pressure will push the cutouts inside the ship. Then the ship will be rushed with water and go down — if all goes to plan.

In 2002, nothing went to plan.

The 510-foot Spiegel Grove, also an artificial reef, flooded and went down off Key Largo three hours earlier than planned — and ended up upside down. Marine salvors managed to get it on its side — and it was finally righted only through the wave power created by Hurricane Dennis in July 2005.

Once the Vandenberg is down, queue the clearance dive teams, led by former Florida Keys Community College dive professor and Artificial Reefs of the Keys board member Bob Smith.

Smith will lead two teams of clearance/safety divers. The first will go down to ensure all of the cutting charges detonated by, essentially, counting the holes. A second team of divers will examine the ship’s superstructure to make sure nothing shifted in the course of the scuttling.

Officials expect the clearance process to be fairly smooth and over in a day. Then, officials from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary will install mooring buoys around the wreck.

After that, the Vandenberg is officially open to recreational divers.

The final price tag is $8.6 million. Funding came from the city of Key West, Monroe County, state agencies, the U.S. Maritime Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and private donors.

First State Bank of the Florida Keys, BB&T and Orion banks provided financing.

„Given the proximity to the shore, the clear water and the zip code, I think it’s a home-run combination,“ Weatherby says. „We’ll see the economic impact immediately and permanently. As far as overhead goes, this is it.“

Dear Tom,

It has been busy in the dive business lately and sometimes that is the only place I can write a quick note! Following are a few of the last pics of Vandenberg before she goes out to sea for her final journey. How exciting!!!

Notice the Conch Republic Flag flying from the bow!

Carmen

Ausserdem hier noch ein kurzer link der einem ermöglicht live dabei zu sein:

Here a link where you can watch online while the ship is sinking!

http://www.sinkthevandenberg.com/

25. Mai 2009 Wracks (wrecks)

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