OFFICIALS SCHEDULE TIME FOR VANDENBERG SINKING
KEY WEST, Florida Keys – Project organizers coordinating the conversion of a retired military missile-tracking ship into an artificial reef off Key West said Friday that the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg could sink as early as 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 27.
“Our sink window is set to open at 10 a.m. May 27, however, weather and other factors could delay the scuttling, so the public needs to understand that,” said Jim Scholl, Key West’s city manager and project administrator. “Nothing is etched in stone yet.”
The 523-foot-long ship is to be the second largest ship in the world ever intentionally sunk to become an artificial reef.
The day before the scheduled sinking, the ship is to be towed and anchored at a predetermined site seven miles south of Key West in 140 feet of water in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
During the tow and at the anchor site, boaters must remain a minimum of 500 yards away from the vessel.
On sink day, authorities are to expand the security zone, and boaters will be required to stay one mile away from Vandenberg. The Federal Aviation Administration is to issue a temporary flight restriction to keep unauthorized aircraft one mile from the ship in all directions and 12,500 feet above the vessel.
Law enforcement officials, including those from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and U.S. Coast Guard, are to enforce security requirements.
Following the scuttling, an assessment will be made to ensure the vessel has landed on the bottom properly and then Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary officials are to begin installing mooring buoys. After final assessments are made and buoys are installed, the wreck can open to sport divers and anglers, sanctuary officials said.