US Military Ship Sleeps with the Fishes

A US troop ship has been swiftly sunk in the Gulf of Mexico. But it’s not a military disaster – rather an ecological project.

To put things into context the boat, the General Hoyt S Vandenberg, is a decommissioned veteran of the second world war. Originally named the General Harry Taylor, it was later used for tracking missiles before being retired in 1983.

The 523-foot long behemoth is now part of a project run by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The sinking, which took just two minutes after a series of controlled explosions, is to allow it to rest on the ocean floor seven miles south of Key West.

The idea is that it will naturally transform into one of the world’s largest artificial reefs, attracting sea creatures and relieving the stress on natural reefs in the crowded waters of the area. Organizer Joe Weatherby explained the natural transformation should be a simple and quick process: “The marine life grows on the wreck and the little fish come and the big fish eat the little fish and just like that [it’s done].”

The new reef is also expected to become a tourist attraction for divers, with predictions it could generate $8 million a year for the region. That would make the project an immediate financial success as it cost $6 million to sink the boat. The majority of this cost came from a mammoth operation to strip the boat of anything which could contaminate the ocean, including wiring, asbestos and even paint.

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6 Responses to US Military Ship Sleeps with the Fishes

  1. I saw a documentary on what happens to property seized by customs, police departments, ATF, etc. Apparently, they do this as well to frieghters that are impounded because they have drugs on board.

    J.Ja

    • I forgot to add, they used to sell those frieghters, but the drug cartels were buying them at the auctions. Worked out for the drug smugglers, because they were getting them cheaper than they could buy boats on the open market. The fact that they were impounding boats and selling them right back to the smugglers was the reason they started sinking them instead, it made no sense.

      J.Ja

  2. I saw a documentary on what happens to property seized by customs, police departments, ATF, etc. Apparently, they do this as well to frieghters that are impounded because they have drugs on board.

    J.Ja

    • I forgot to add, they used to sell those frieghters, but the drug cartels were buying them at the auctions. Worked out for the drug smugglers, because they were getting them cheaper than they could buy boats on the open market. The fact that they were impounding boats and selling them right back to the smugglers was the reason they started sinking them instead, it made no sense.

      J.Ja

  3. Why would divers even want to dive to see this 'shipwreck'?

    Most of the appeal for divers to go see a shipwreck is the story behind the wreck (knowing where the captain stood as he died, maybe even seeing a few skeletons) it's seeing the ship as it was the day it sunk on an actual voyage/mission.

    It's like why geeks like to see old computer systems – they're real. They had a purpose, and for one reason or another, they broke and were superceded by better systems. It's the story, not the actual physical parts.

    Why would any geek want to see a computer system built from new parts that just looks and runs like an old one when they could just as easily see the actual old one? Same for shipwrecks for divers.

    This is pointless.

  4. Why would divers even want to dive to see this ‘shipwreck’?

    Most of the appeal for divers to go see a shipwreck is the story behind the wreck (knowing where the captain stood as he died, maybe even seeing a few skeletons) it’s seeing the ship as it was the day it sunk on an actual voyage/mission.

    It’s like why geeks like to see old computer systems – they’re real. They had a purpose, and for one reason or another, they broke and were superceded by better systems. It’s the story, not the actual physical parts.

    Why would any geek want to see a computer system built from new parts that just looks and runs like an old one when they could just as easily see the actual old one? Same for shipwrecks for divers.

    This is pointless.

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