(Coos Bay, Ore.; Oct. 15, 2008) – TITAN Salvage, Crowley Maritime Corporation’s salvage and wreck removal company, reported today that it had completed its contracted work for the New Carissa in Coos Bay, Ore. The last visible piece of the stern section of the New Carissa was removed on September 23. And after four months of hard work and several days of diving to clear the seabed of the final 50 tons of debris, the last load of New Carissa scrap landed at the Empire dock in Coos Bay on September 29. With the removal earlier this week of TITAN’s two jackup barges, the Karlissa A and Karlissa B, which were raised 40 feet above the surf zone, the wreck removal few thought possible was done.
On February 4, 1999, the New Carissa ran aground near Coos Bay, Ore. The Oregon Department of State Lands signed a contract with TITAN Salvage in the summer of 2007 to remove the remaining stern section. TITAN’s Managing Director David Parrot and Salvage Master Shelby Harris led the company’s 20-person salvage team. “The entire operation involved innovative technology, careful analysis of daily salvage work, an experienced crew and surprisingly cooperative weather,” said Todd Busch, vice president.
TITAN’s plan involved a combination of their two jack-up barges, a purpose built 1,000-foot tlphrique (a type of cable car), six of Titan’s 300-ton hydraulic pullers, two large cranes and an experienced salvage team. The jack-up barges allowed the team to work from a stable platform above a very active surf zone. The tlphrique, designed by TITAN and built specifically for this project, was the salvage team’s lifeline to the beach. The cable car transported the crew and equipment from the beach to the platform barges through wind and fog without once being shut down for weather.
After cutting and removing several hundred tons of steel above the water, the six TITAN pullers were connected to the remains of the wreck buried 30 feet in the sand. With a combined pull of over 1,500 tons over the bow of the Karlissa A, the pullers were able to wrench the remains of the wreck from the sand. The wreck was then repeatedly heaved out of the water where salvors could flame cut pieces into manageable size pieces, rig them to the crane and land them on the deck of the jack-up barges. The heaviest piece removed was the 170-ton main engine block. Several other pieces were in excess of 100-tons. The scrap was ultimately back loaded onto Crowley’s 250-6 deck barge for transport ashore where Pacific Recycling of Eugene, Ore., will receive and dispose of it.
The salvage team, working 12-hour days throughout the summer and often in rain, wind, fog and rough sea conditions, completed the project without any serious injuries. Because of the dangerous nature of this project, the crew was extensively trained in safety measures and the use of harnesses, ropes and bracing specifically related to the job.
“It’s not over until the last square foot of dunes is recontoured and all the equipment is gone, but obviously we are very pleased with job carried out by TITAN,” said Steve Purchase, the Department of State Lands’ assistant director for land management. “The state is very fortunate to have a contractor with TITAN’s determination, expertise and passion for completing this project. After nearly a decade of wrangling over the wreck – including a jury trial in 2002 that found the ship’s owners guilty of negligent trespass – this eyesore is finally gone from Oregon’s shore.”
The eight-month project generated extensive media coverage, with nearly 200 TV, radio and newspaper stories within Oregon and from as far away as Seattle, San Diego and San Francisco. Oregon’s largest daily newspaper, The Oregonian, once skeptical the wreck could be removed, summed up the project in a Sept. 28 editorial: “Oregonians owe a tip of the hat to TITAN Salvage, the Florida-based salvage outfit. Years of previous efforts to remove the wreck failed miserably, but TITAN’s crew delivered on a promise to finish the job and get out before arrival of the heavy seas and high winds of October.”
As TITAN moves on to other shipwrecks across the globe, the company will leave behind a clean beach off the North Spit in this wind-swept part of the Oregon coast. Oregon residents who followed the story – many of whom remember the initial New Carissa grounding in 1999 – know the successful wrap-up of the project sends a message that Oregon, with its 363 miles of public beaches, is serious about cleaning up unwanted trash – even if it’s 1,600 tons of metal stuck in the surf. TITAN plans to donate the ship’s propeller – a twisted reminder of the violent crash in 1999 – to the Coos County Historical and Maritime Museum.
About TITAN: www.titansalvage.com
About Crowley: www.crowley.com
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