It is widely known that the salvage operations at Mel Fisher’s Treasures are world class. It is proven again by the request for the Salvage Vessels J.B. Magruder and DARE to be the only two support vessels for the massive undertaking of sinking the 522 foot-long USS Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg as the next artificial reef in the Florida Keys.
The sinking is tentatively scheduled between May 26 and June 1 with a likely date of May 27th, weather dependent of course. According the Key West Citizen, “Each of 42 chargers totaling 179 pounds of explosive material will create 3 million pounds of pressure per square inch, tearing 42 holes in the hull of the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg below the water line.” This will cause her to sink landing upright appearing on the bottom of the ocean as she currently does sitting on the surface of the water at the Outer Moll in Key West.
Mel Fisher’s Treasures survey vessel The Huntress is slated to be the control boat for the entire project and
will have project leaders onboard. She will be the first boat to go over the Vandenberg once it has sunk. The Huntress is equipped with a camera that is built into her hull which will be used to inspect the Vandenberg to verify that it has landed in an upright position, hull first. The cameras will also be used to inspect the mooring anchors to be sure they are not tangled. Once these tasks are completed the project leaders will transfer to the Salvage Vessel J.B. Magruder, which will be the dive command center accommodating 20 technical divers along with another 18 technical divers on the Salvage Vessel DARE.
Dive teams from the Magruder and the DARE will be sent down to inspect the 140+ explosives that were supposed to detonate. If any happen to not explode the underwater demolition dive teams will enter the water to remove the charges. The underwater demolition teams will either be from the Sheriff’s department or Military trained divers.
This event will be widely covered by the media. It is set to be a cover story for National Geographic. Mythbusters from the Discovery Channel will also be conducting an experiment with their dummy “Buster” to see if he is sucked down into the water vortex when the Vandenberg sinks.
During the sinking passengers on The Huntress, the Magruder and the DARE are limited to essential personnel because the vessels will be within the 1-mile safety zone radius. It is mandated that everyone on board must have a specific purpose. Recreational divers should be allowed to dive the Vandenberg 24 hours after she sinks and the inspections are completed.
Mel Fisher’s Treasures as a whole is honored and very excited to be such an integral part of this monumental moment in the history of the keys. We should also have some of the very first footage and imagery of the sinking of the Vandenberg so be sure to check our website in the days following the event, Today’s the Day!