KEY LARGO, Fla. — Divers have installed a bronze plaque identifying the final 250 of 1,000 contributors who helped fund a former U.S. Naval ship’s 2002 sinking as an artificial reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
The panel was affixed Tuesday to the Spiegel Grove.
During preparations for scuttling in May 2002, the 510-foot-long vessel submerged prematurely and rolled with its upside-down bow protruding above the surface in 130 feet of water. A salvage crew fully sunk it on its starboard side three weeks later. Waves and current emanating from Hurricane Dennis as it skirted the Keys in July 2005 pushed the ship upright, its intended position.
The $1.5-million project was underwritten by the Keys tourism council and private donations. Marine scientists say some 200 fish species have been seen on the wreck.
Online: Spiegel Grove artificial reef, http://www.fla-keys.com/diving/spiegel-grove