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Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg

Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg

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World War II ship to become massive coral reef by Stevie Smith - May 26 2009, 15:50 Evidently not all of man�s influence upon the planet is wreaking havoc with its delicate ecological balance.

More pointedly, a huge ship with service experience amassed during World War II is to be officially decommissioned and sunk to become one of the globe�s biggest manmade coral reefs.

Soon to be sleeping with the fishes.

Image: Wikipedia Commons.Last used by the U.S.

Air Force in the 1960s to track airborne ordnance, the hulking Gen.

Hoyt S.

Vandenberg is to be sunk some seven miles off the coast of Key West, Florida, this coming Wednesday, after which time the 17,000 tonne, 523-foot-long beast will become a home for ocean life in 140 feet of water.In order to protect the majority of the ship�s structure, explosive detonations directly beneath its hull will tear the ship open and cause its complete sinking in less than three minutes, according to Reefmaker project manager Joe Weatherby.While the project carries a substantial price tag of around $8.6 million USD, which includes the ship�s purchase, cleaning and subsequent sinking, the resulting manmade reef is expected to create up to $8 million USD in annual revenue for the state of Florida, most of which will be garnered from dive-based tourism.� According to Weatherby, the sinking of the Gen.

Hoyt S.

Vandenberg will also provide protection for nearby natural reef and coral formations that have suffered in recent times due to increased water temperatures and excessive diving, snorkelling and fishing.A related AP report also notes that clean-up preparations for the ship�s scheduled sinking included the removal of more than a million feet of wire, 1,500 vent gaskets, dozens of watertight doors, 81 bags of asbestos, 46 tonnes of garbage, 300 pounds of material containing mercury, 185 drums (of 55 gallons) each packed with paint chips, and 193 tonnes of cancer-causing substances.Prior to serving as a tracking vessel during the Cold War, the Gen.

Hoyt S.

Vandenberg saw service in 1944 when it was used to ferry troops and supplies between San Francisco and island bases in the western Pacific.

In 1945 it transported U.S.

troops back home from Europe.�Want regular updates from The Tech Herald? Follow us on Twitter.Interested in a more interactive TTH? Join our Facebook Group.
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