Saturday, September 3, 2011

Phoenix Ship Wreck Pull Off

The Phoenix moments before she left our shores
After weeks and weeks, and much debate over what was going to be the out come of the wreck of the Phoenix at Sheffield beach. The Phoenix was dragged off and miraculously floated! Some including myself were hoping that it would sink some distance from shore and create a new dive and fishing location.

Anyway after 6 weeks and well over 5 million US Dollars later the engineers and specialists got it right. This time there were 2 tow ropes and I am sure a host of other details we don't know about to make sure that everything went to plan.
Early hours of the morning cutting the gang plank off started the proceedings.

What was interesting is that aside from the fact that there was a huge hole in the hull near the engine room, the engineers speculated whether the stern of the ship would be too heavy and cause problems. The countered the problem by pumping huge volumes of air into the effected sections. On the other hand they also said that it would take a number of hours for the ship to sink as there were many bulk heads and other water tight sections still intact.
Its hard to see but the puff of dust on the bow was the winch housings breaking off under the pressure.

The original plan was to pull the ship on the full high tide earlier in the week, but with no swell they took a chance and waited for better swell. So even though the tide was not as high as a few days ago the increased swell height helped rock the ship off the rocks.
The Light bow lifting up in the swell as she made her way.
Once the bow was facing out to sea it took a while for the heavy stern to get pulled free. You could see the bow was light as it lifted over the swells. Once the ship was pulled a safe distance they started to flood the bow with water to balance the ship and towed her over the horizon.

If you cant see the video go to Phoenix Leaving

Here is a short video clip my mate put together of the whole ordeal. Its a classic so check it out. I a sure that there are many happy Sheffield residents at the moment. And although we did not get our reef there are rumors that they will sink her somewhere near Aliwal Shoal.

I guess this is the end of this little saga and Sheffield can now return to its quiet sleepy self.

Coatesman

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