HIDOT, 7th EDD partner on potential removal of sunken vessel

| July 10, 2015 | 0 Comments

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Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Nicole Howell
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

HONOLULU — A team of Army divers partnered with the State of Hawaii to perform an assessment for the possible salvage of an abandoned, sunken, 77-foot fishing vessel, the Judy K, from Honolulu Harbor.

Earlier this year, this boat leaked an estimated 150 gallons of diesel fuel into the harbor.

Although this vessel currently does not pose a threat to the environment or to public health and safety, Darrell T. Young, deputy director, Hawaii Department of Transportation-Harbors Division stressed the importance of this harbor.

In the photos, Army divers from the 7th Eng. Dive Detach., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, assess the partially sunken fishing vessel Judy K, which has been leaking diesel fuel into Honolulu Harbor. The Hawaii State Dept. of Transportation asked the Army to help them salvage the vessel.

Divers from the 7th Eng. Dive Detach., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, gear enter Honolulu Harbor to assess the partially sunken fishing vessel Judy K.

“Eighty-percent of goods are imported to Hawaii, and of that 80 percent, 99 percent of that comes through this harbor,” said Young. “That’s how important this is.”

Over the course of two days, the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, conducted multiple dives to assess the potential for the boat to be refloated at a later date. The dives were targeted to assess different areas of the ship to see the current state of the structure.

If the team’s assessment shows that it can be salvaged, operations to resurface the vessel could take a minimum of two weeks.

“It poses a lot of challenges for us, and with a salvage there are a lot of variables,” said Staff Sgt. David Craig, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the project and a Hawaiian native. “In the best-case scenario, I believe we could get this boat to float, not useable, but able to float.”

After the dives are complete, Craig and his team will compile the data to figure out what materials they need to repair the vessel and the estimated time necessary to bring it back to the surface.

“Every salvage needs engineer work,” Craig said. “Every boat sinks differently, and every time you go out to a job like this, it is different because the factors change. Designing a salvage is complicated and a lot of work, but it is my favorite type of job.”

The  Judy K  has been leaking diesel into Honolulu Harbor and has a boom around it to help contain the fuel. The Hawaii State Dept. of Transportation asked the Army to help them salvage the vessel.

The Judy K has been leaking diesel into Honolulu Harbor and has a boom around it to help contain the fuel. The Hawaii State Dept. of Transportation asked the Army to help them salvage the vessel.

This real-world training event proved to be a great opportunity for the dive detachment, while providing support to the local community.

“We believe the Army divers bring a capability that we cannot find in the private market,” said Young. “We also believe that partnering with the Army divers has saved us tens of thousands of dollars for the state. When we put this up for bid, we estimated the cost of the project to be $30-50,000, but the local contractors bid amounts (were) more than $100,000. That is a lot of money for the state.”

“We are extremely grateful for this help,” Young added. “This is a great example of a mutually beneficial relationship between our federal partners and us. We couldn’t do it without these guys.”

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