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WWII-era ship becomes sunken reef off Key West

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">In this photo released by the Florida Keys News Bureau, tugboats tow the decommissioned U.S. military missile-tracking ship Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg Tuesday, May 26, 2009, out of the harbor in Key West, Fla. The 523-foot-long ship, that once tracked space launches off Cape Canaveral, Fla., and also monitored Soviet missile launches during the Cold War, is scheduled be scuttled off Key West Wednesday, May 27, to become an artificial reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. &#40;AP Photo&#47;Florida Keys News Bureau, Andy Newman&#41;</span></div>
May 27, 2009 1:47:00 PM PDT
A ship last used by the U.S. Air Force to track missiles and spacecraft has been sunk in the Florida Keys, creating a new artificial reef for sport divers and anglers. The Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg sank in less than two minutes Wednesday morning, after demolition experts triggered a series of explosives that lined the both sides of the ship.

Key West City Manager Jim Scholl says he believes the 17,000-ton, 523-foot-long ship settled on the bottom of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in an upright position, but he was waiting for confirmation from divers.

The ship was first built as a cargo ship in World War II. Officials in the Florida Keys expect it to generate up to $8 million in tourism-related revenue, mostly from divers and related businesses.

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