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Vandenberg sinking

Discussion in 'Artificial Reefs' started by diver222, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. diver222

    diver222 Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Long Island NY
    ANy one planning to attend the sinking of the Vandenberg? Then hopefully dive on it the next day or so. Sinking is May 15th Get a seat....Mike
  2. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains

    May 15 at the earliest, huh? Those dates often shift.

    Click Forums at the top to start checking all the choices, and try our :search: feature. Hope you enjoy your time here. Click my Username to PM me if I can help...??

    [​IMG] don :cowboy:
  3. polarguard

    polarguard Angel Fish


    Mar 22, 2008 (Florida Keys Keynoter - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- NO MATCHES FOUND. | news | PowerRating | PR Charts -- Key West City Commissioner Bill Verge wants the City Commission to set a deadline of April 1 to garner $2.3 million still needed to sink the USS Hoyt S. Vandenberg as an artificial reef seven miles off Key West.
    The city holds the title to the vessel, and if the deadline is not met, "the city will turn the title over to the lending institutions and the ship will be sold for scrap," Verge wrote in a letter to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Chairman Rodney Barreto.
    Verge said he'll ask his fellow commissioners to approve the deadline when they meet April 1, the deadline he wants.
    He said he's looking to the state for the money, specifically the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development. It's the last resort "unless some sugar daddy steps up and pays the rest."
    "The state hasn't put one dime into this yet," Verge told the Keynoter. "And yet they're the main beneficiary on this."
    According to Verge, the city's Tallahassee lobbyist firm, Gray/Robinson Attorneys at Law, is trying to make it happen.
    "We have talked to [the tourism office] about that, and we are waiting for a response," said Ed Scales, a local attorney with Gray/Robinson.
    According to Verge, the Vandenberg is only a piece of the state's new tourism plan.
    "The state would like to sink 10 more ships around Florida to keep the tourists here for a longer period of time," he said.
    The city deadline was set because of towing limitations.
    "Time is of the essence due to towing dates and hurricane season," Verge wrote. "The Coast Guard will not allow a tow after June 1," because hurricane season begins.
    On top of the city's financial worries, the Department of Environmental Protection introduced more mitigative requirements for the ship before it can be scuttled and made an artificial reef. Those include, according to Verge, dry-docking the ship twice to clean the hull before it's scuttled as an artificial reef.
    With a total cost of now more than $8 million, the project is being financed by the city of Key West, Monroe County, the county Tourist Development Council, U.S. Maritime Administration, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and local banks.
    The city, county and TDC have pledged the funds, but no transactions will occur until the 520-foot ship is on the ocean bottom.
    "Of course, the TDC has $1 million allocated to the ship, which cannot be released until the ship goes down as an artificial reef," TDC Director Harold Wheeler said.
    Asked if the TDC would consider contributing more, Wheeler said, "We feel as though the million we've invested in it is a good investment."
    Not only does the vessel need to sink, it needs to sink correctly.
    The 510-foot Spiegel Grove ran into complications in 2002 when it was sunk in 134 feet of water near Dixie Shoal off Key Largo. That vessel unintentionally rolled upside down. It's since been righted.
    "If these guys can't pull it off, they get no funds," Verge said.
    Reefmakers is contracted to scuttle the vessel for Artificial Reefs of the Florida Keys.
    Managers of the 10-year project say the 14,300-ton former military vessel will be towed from its shipyard in Norfolk, Va., where it's been cleaned out and prepared for scuttling.
    Joe Weatherby of Reefmakers announced a sinking date of May 15 in late January.
  4. truck1

    truck1 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Central FL
    That does not sound good at all for the sinking.
  5. DivingPrincessE

    DivingPrincessE Great White

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Miramar & Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Welcome to the board!
  6. trtldvr

    trtldvr Instructor, Scuba

    The sinking isn't sunk ....yet.

    Ships ahoy or bon voyage?

    [FONT=Arial, Times New Roman]
    Citizen Staff

    A Key West city commissioner is working to protect the city from liability in case the USS Vandenberg does not sink as an artificial reef, but he maintains hope for the project's success as the mayor continues to seek state funding.
    Mayor Morgan McPherson met Wednesday in Tallahassee with Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and members of the governor's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, which could help with funding.
    "They are working to try to come up with a grouping of funds," McPherson said. "Have they committed to it 100 percent? No. But they believe in it and they want to get behind it."
    He said he told the group the city was working with a two-week deadline for funding.
    "It's either time for the state to become our partner in this or not, but I'd say as of now we have better than a 50-50 chance," McPherson said.
    If the funding is not in place within those two weeks, McPherson and City Commissioner Bill Verge both said they need to protect the city of Key West.
    Verge, a longtime supporter of the reef project, on Tuesday will ask the city attorney to "begin negotiations" for the city to release the title of the ship, possibly to the banks that have committed financial support.
    As of now, the city holds title to the ship "and has entered into various memorandums of understanding or agreement with federal, state and local governments to assist in the project. Private funding institutions have also cooperated in funding the project," according to the proposed resolution.
    Verge also remains hopeful for the project.
    "The full-court press is on right now," Verge said. "I have to keep the banks comfortable, but I'm trying to keep the window open as long as I can."
    He emphasized that, if approved at Tuesday's City Commission meeting, his direction to begin negotiations to release the title would not be the final death knell for the project.
    Unforeseen cost increases have jeopardized the hard-fought sinking, with project organizers needing an additional $2.3 million.
    Verge and McPherson both have championed the reef project, citing positive economic impacts and environmental benefits to the natural coral reef.
  7. polarguard

    polarguard Angel Fish

    Let's keep our fingers crossed on this one.:lotsalove:...does any one have any idea how they found themselves this far over budget at the last minute?:confused:

    It sounds like the Monroe COunty political scene will be highly entertaining again:popcorn::rofl3:
  8. trtldvr

    trtldvr Instructor, Scuba

    This is how I understand it.

    First, the original contractor had set a fixed bid to clean the ship, but it had taken soooooooo long to aquire the funding, this contractor was no longer available. Then another contractor stepped up and agreed to do the job for the proposed price, but if any additional work needed done the price would be adjusted.Then the sanctuary required more cleaning than what was originally thought, this lead to an additional trip into the dry dock.

    The amount of cleaning to this ship is unprecedented.

    Safe dives
    Florida Keys Safe Diving Initiative
  9. mike_s

    mike_s Solo Diver


    I have a feeling that none of this being over budget or poor planned is "last minute".

    they've been saying they would be sinking this wreck long ago, even before the Spiegal Grove was sunk.

    If you read into the problems (on land with politics, organizers, etc) with the sinking of the Grove (or the people who sunk it), it will indicate a lot of dis-organization.

    on a positive note, I hope they get it sunk. but I'm not booking any travel plans yet! :D
  10. polarguard

    polarguard Angel Fish

    ‘Vandenberg' plans in disarray

    By Sam Nissen snissen@keynoter.com
    Posted-Friday, April 4, 2008 10:01 PM EDT

    Big shortfall puts scuttling into question

    The USS Hoyt Vandenberg is making more waves without moving an inch.

    While work to prepare the ship for its final mission as an artificial reef off Key West is proceeding, cost concerns have nearly sunk the project.

    The project is 40 percent over 2006 cost estimates and time is running out to secure the added money, according to a project budget.

    The new estimate of $8.45 million is 3.9 times more than the original estimate calculated in 2001, according to Monroe County Tourist Development Council records. Jeff Dey, whose company, Resource Control Corp., is part of the team scuttling the ship, filed that estimate - $2.18 million.

    As the deadlines loom, BB&T Bank is considering pulling loans for the project, Key West City Commissioner Bill Verge said.

    He said banks should see through their commitment, but that BB&T has reason to raise questions.

    The bank and city became aware of millions of dollars in additional costs when the project manager, Reef Makers, used up bank allocations.

    Verge described mounting costs as legitimate, and said they stem from various environmental concerns and unforeseeable variables such as the steep rise in gas prices the past few years. But, he added, Reef Makers should have warned the various governmental agencies involved in the scuttling for the 520-foot former military ship of the rising expenses.

    Most of the unforeseen costs are in the removal and disposal of PCB-laced wiring, said Joe Weatherby, marketing director for Reef Makers. PCB is a toxic pollutant banned in 1979.

    John McMahon, manager of the Key West branch of BB&T, said it is against company policy to comment on its relationship with clients.

    Any pulled funding would add to the project's current $2.4 million shortfall. About $1 million of that is working its way through a legislative committee. Key West Mayor Morgan McPherson said he thinks the state's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development can fund the rest.

    “This is going to be one of the most different summers ever,” he said.

    Asked if the TDC should pay more than the $1 million it already committed, he said: “I'd love to see the TDC come out with something, but that would have to be an action that board would have to address.

    “At this point, the executive director, Harold Wheeler, has taken a pretty staunch position against extra monies being used. He hasn't been helpful up into this point, and I don't expect him to be helpful about it in the future,” he said.

    Placing explosives on the ship to sink it will take a month, Verge said. To make the U.S. Coast Guard deadline of June 1, brought about by the beginning of hurricane season, the ship must be in place by the end of April.

    If the ship is sunk, benefits to the Keys are disputed.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration contends the ship will increase diving 10 percent in the county, according to a report authored by Bob Leeworthy, chief economist for that agency. Added visitors will spend an extra $7.5 million each year since divers spend on lodging and other tourism businesses, the report says.

    Wheeler said he thinks the impact could hurt the Upper Keys, where diving is a big attraction, or dissipate quickly.

    “I believe if the ship goes down that it will have a very positive effect for at least a short period of time,” he said. The question is after a about a year and a half or two years, what economic impact is it going to have in Key West?”

    Said Weatherby, “This is the right thing for our economy and our environment, but I recognize that people feel differently.”

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