||ARK founder and former president, Capt.
Joe Weatherby, has been planning for a major artificial reef in
Key West since the early 90's. Artificial Reefs of the Keys was
formed in partnership with Capt.
Sheri Lohr and Jeff
Dey, CEO of ARK's primary contractor, Reefmakers to make this dream a reality. Candidates
for the project included vessels ranging from a battleship to an
abandoned barge. With help from Mr. Andres Hark, of the
US Maritime Administration (MARAD,) the field was narrowed. In
1996 the Vandenberg came to our attention, shortly after its use in
motion picture. The size was right, the profile interesting, and
it was specifically designated a "low HAZMAT" ship.
Further research revealed the vessel's interesting history.
Touring the ship and walking its decks,
the ARK team knew we were looking at our future reef.
[ This section of a MARAD document dates from the return of the vessel after the filming of "Virus" and notes its suitability as an artificial fesh reef]