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Instant Status For Sale on eBay: Fla. Reef With 'Your Name Here'

November 16, 2001|Reuters

KEY WEST, Fla. — For a $2-million minimum bid on the Internet auction house eBay, one philanthropist can win the right to name an artificial reef planned for the Florida Keys.

The nonprofit organization Artificial Reefs of the Keys is auctioning off the right to name the reef, to be created by the sinking next year of a decommissioned military ship 6.5 miles southeast of Key West.

The project aims to protect the world's third-largest living coral reef, located off the island of Key West on Florida's southern tip, by providing an alternative site for diving enthusiasts, the nonprofit group said. "Obviously, these are tough economic times, and this is certainly not for everybody," said Joe Weatherby, the group's president.

The 10-day auction began Nov. 13, but as of Thursday, no one had bid, Weatherby said.

The decommissioned Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg weighs more than 13,000 tons and is 520 feet long and 10 stories tall.

The vessel was commissioned in 1944 as the Gen. Harry Taylor, a troop transport ship.

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