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TITAN removes more than 400 tons of the New Carissa’s stern – third phase of wreck removal to begin

(COOS BAY, Ore.; July 24, 2008) – Residents of Coos Bay, Ore., and others following the monumental shipwreck removal of the New Carissa via news reports and the Internet, can see TITAN Salvage means business.

Just three-and-a-half weeks after positioning the second jack-up barge in the surf near the New Carissa shipwreck, TITAN has reported that they have successfully removed more than 400 tons of the stern section above the waterline and will soon be ready to begin pulling the rest of the buried wreck out of the sand.

“We want her as light as possible before we start pulling,” said Todd Busch, TITAN vice president. “We’re not that far from being ready to take that fist pull maybe a week or so.”

The steel removal marks a significant milestone in the project. Phase three includes removing the balance of the stern portion, which includes the 200-ton main engine, from the sand.

The New Carissa, a 640-foot wood-chip carrier, ran aground just north of Coos Bay during a February 1999 storm, and subsequently broke apart becoming a total loss. Since 1999, several attempts by other companies to remove the wreckage, which later settled about 150 yards from the beachfront, have been unsuccessful. TITAN was contracted in 2007 to remove the remaining wreckage of the vessel.

The removal of the remainder of the stern, which is buried in nearly 20 feet of sand, will be a challenging aspect of the project and will require a great amount of effort. 

Using six TITAN linear hydraulic chain pullers, TITAN believes it can overcome the massive weight of the buried stern and any ground suction developed through the years.

Each puller, or hydraulic pulling machine, provides more than 300 tons of pull and will be connected to strategic lifting points on the wreck. The innovative piece of equipment developed by TITAN is capable of doing the job of six to 15 normal-sized tugboats. When comparing the pullers to the most massive salvage tugs, which are often 200-feet-long, TITAN pullers still provide more pull. The most massive salvage tugs are capable of 100 to 150-tons of pull making a single TITAN puller equal to two to three of those specialty tugs.

Once the wreck is pulled free, it will be cut into smaller, transportable pieces, placed on a deck barge, and ultimately taken to a recycling facility.

Last week Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski toured the jobsite and shared with employees and local media that he was impressed with the progress TITAN has made in dismantling the New Carissa.

Part of TITAN’s success so far can be attributed to innovation within the salvage team. Due to the dangerous location of the New Carissa, TITAN had to develop a way to get the 18-member salvage team and equipment to and from the jack-up barges, the Karlissa A and Karlissa B.

Salvage Master Shelby Harris and Phil Reed, director of engineering, along with TITAN’s engineering and operations groups collaborated on the design of the Transporter. A hybrid of sorts, the Transporter was developed using engineering concepts of cable cars used at ski resorts and cable transporters used to move materials at logging camps in remote areas.

Rough weather conditions, like fog and high winds, along with choppy surf can make salvage efforts a nightmare because helicopters cannot fly when there is low visibility or high winds and rough waters make it dangerous to transport personnel to the site on water. A tower, which was built by a local Oregon company, supports the 1,000-foot cable run, which ends on one of the legs of the Karlissa A

So far TITAN hasn’t missed a day of work since operations began. Without the Transporter, about 90 percent of work days would not have been possible. The typical work schedule is 12 to 13 hours a day, seven days a week.

“To date, we have had no limitations that restrict how the job has progressed,” Harris said. “In fact, we are ahead of where we would be without the Transporter. We have a number of days where the wind or fog was too excessive and we would not have been able to access our work site by other means like a helicopter or boat. We have missed no days to excessive weather.”

Although TITAN has been able to adapt and work through environmental and job-related challenges, safety continues to be key in salvage and wreck removal operations.

“While our goal is to successfully remove the New Carissa, our number one priority is the safety of our personnel,” Busch said. “Not only has our team developed innovative ways to address challenges, they have also participated in extensive safety training prior to beginning the project.”

Crew training covered a variety of areas including hazardous waste operations (HAZWOP), confined space training, first aid, personal protective equipment, accident prevention. The team also focused on specialized training directly related to New Carissa job hazards.

A climbing instructor provided on-site training on the proper use of harnesses, fall arrest issues, ropes and bracing. The team also trained with the U.S. Coast Guard in the area of helicopter personnel recovery.

“All tasks that we undertake are judged and approached with caution and practicality,” Harris said. “We will at least discuss and address areas of concern and take preventive actions as they come apparent. If necessary, we incorporate training as a preventive action, if a course exists for what we need.”

TITAN, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Crowley Marine Services, Inc. is a worldwide salvage company based in Pompano Beach, Fla. The company also has offices in Newhaven, UK and Singapore along with an equipment depot in Batam, Indonesia. Over the past 27 years, TITAN has performed more than 300 salvage and wreck removal projects worldwide. Titan responds to vessel emergencies around the world and is accessible 24 hours a day through the company’s main dispatch telephone number, 954-545-4143. Additional information about TITAN may be found at

 Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime Corporation, founded in San Francisco in 1892, is a privately held family and employee-owned company that provides diversified transportation and logistics services in domestic and international markets by means of six operating lines of business: Puerto Rico/Caribbean Liner Services, Latin America Liner Services, Logistics Services, Petroleum Services, Marine Services and Technical Services. Offered within these operating lines of business are the following services: liner container shipping, logistics, contract towing and transportation; ship assist and escort; energy support; salvage and emergency response; vessel management; vessel construction and naval architecture; government services, and petroleum and chemical transportation, distribution and sales. Additional information about Crowley its subsidiaries and business units may be found on the Internet at

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