Air Force Ship Becomes Artificial Reef Off Fla. Keys

WWII cargo ship also tracked missiles and spacecraft
By A Ali,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2009 1:40 PM CDT
Air Force Ship Becomes Artificial Reef Off Fla. Keys
Veterans who served on the US missile tracking ship Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg walk on the ship they once served.   (AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Mike Marrero)

Demolition experts sank an Air Force ship this morning to create an artificial reef in the Florida Keys, the AP reports. The 17,000-ton, WWII-era cargo ship took less than 2 minutes to sink after a series of explosions. The new "reef" is expected to bring in about $8 million in tourism revenue, just shy of the $8.6 million it took—over 14 years—to win approval for its demolition, adds the Miami Herald.

"I can't think of a better final use of a ship that has had a long, hard career all around the world," said a man who worked on the vessel when it was a Cold War missile tracker. Today's sinking of the 523-foot long Vandenberg—the second-largest ship ever sunk to create a reef—was broadcast online. (More World War II stories.)

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