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Crew Abandons Uprighting Navy Ship

June 11, 2002

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KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) _ A salvage crew abandoned attempts to right a 510-foot retired Navy ship that settled on its side after it flipped over and sank prematurely during efforts to convert it into an artificial reef.

The ship finally settled on its right side Monday under 130 feet of water off the Florida Keys. Workers had hoped to pull it upright with a tug boat, but the cables broke twice.

``We’re done for now,″ Jim Lupino, chairman-elect of the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce, said Monday. It will be ready for divers as early as this weekend, officials said.

Joe Farrell, president of Fort Lauderdale-based Resolve Marine Group, the company charged with sinking the ship, told chamber members that continuing the efforts to right the ship would be costly and perhaps unnecessary.

The Spiegel Grove flipped over May 17 and landed about 130 feet under water upside down, hours before it was to be intentionally sunk to the bottom of the sea six miles off Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The ship was already attracting marine life. In videotape shot of the salvage divers doing their work, schools of small fish could be seen darting around.

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On the Net: Spiegel Grove: http://fla-keys.com/spiegelgrove

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