Expedition Journal

April 19, 1996
The Scoop on the Steel Reef

by Kristin Cooper and Monica Hindmarch

This information is from Captain Thomas Scott, a highly respected local historian. Our points of contact were John Hallas of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Steven Miller of NURC/UNCW. Captain Scott has looked the JASON Project homepage and studied our images of the "Steel Reef."

Captain Scott believes that the steel reef is really a barge called the Vitric, with a homeport of New Jersey. It was carrying 134,000 gallons of Molassas in 5 tanks on deck and 6 tanks in the main hull. On March 29, 1944, it was under tow from Havanna to West Palm when it capsized. Captain Scott believes that we have found the 5 tanks on deck. The hull with the other 6 tanks should be in the vicinity. Some of the tanks the barge was carrying were empty. The approximate Loran that it went down was 2458 N and 8018 W. Can you count identify five tanks on the mosaic?

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Gene Carl Feldman (gene@seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov) (301) 286-9428
Todd Carlo Viola, JASON Foundation for Education (todd@jason.org)
Revised: 21 April 1996