Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The removal of the Ocean Clipper can now be seen on the National Geographic Chanel!

World’s Toughest Fixes presents “Alaskan Salvage” the removal of the F/V Ocean Clipper off St. Paul Island by MCAF, Magone Marine, St. Paul Tribe and NOAA. Premiering on Thursday, September 30 at 4pm & 7pm in Alaska. See more!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Habitat Restoration - The Ocean Clipper Story

Shipwrecked on a fur seal rookery on St. Paul Island, Alaska in the late 1980's, the F/V Ocean Clipper became a death trap to Northern Fur Seal pups. The vessel was too rusted to haul off the reef, so it had to be removed in pieces, while working in sub-freezing temperatures. Watch this fascinating account of perseverance and ingenuity.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day 15

One of the Magone crew put on a wetsuit to look for pieces in the ice near shore. The rest of the crew continued to bag small pieces that were underneath the last remaining piece that had been pulled down the previous day. Finally, the SV Redeemer came out to pull the last piece aboard. Even though the ice is still thick, getting the hawser line ashore was much easier as there was a path clear of ice.

The last piece was hauled aboard and the crane, excavator and all other equipment (torch lines and tanks) were removed and hauled back to the barge.

The SV Redeemer, SV Western Viking and the Keshega barge departed St Paul harbor at 11:00 p.m.

The goal of removing the FV Ocean Clipper by 11:59 p.m. May 1 had been achieved.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 14

The ice remains thick along the reef and out for several hundred yards.

Removal of the many pieces and supersacks of debris continues via the highline through mid-afternoon. After removing all of the pieces that could go via the highline, a come-along is attached to the mast of the sole remaining piece. Many had viewed the piece to be ready to topple at any time, however, it took a great deal of reefing on the come-along to pull it down.

The SV Redeemer came around to get the last pieces. Getting the hawser to shore proved a difficult feat. As the hawser came off the ship many large pieces of ice immediately bumped up against it. Pulling the line in from shore was very difficult with the crew of eight. Eventually the come-along had to be attached and the hawser was finally joined to the one of the two pieces. Getting it back aboard the ship was much easier than getting the line ashore.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 13

The weather remains cold. Ice has returned and is thick for several hundred yards out from the site.

Removal of the sections and pieces continued via the highline. The crew is getting the difficult pieces, the ones that fell away from land. It involves using the come alongs (turfers) and the highline to get the pieces into position for lifting to the staging site.

The crew continued to police the area for the many small pieces that are a result of the mess that was on board.

Very little remains standing, essentially only the mast with the guy wires.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 12

Weather was cold and windy in the morning but the sun came out in the afternoon and warmed things up.

Section and piece removal continued. The roof was removed up to the point of rear mast stabilizing mounts. Note that the forward mast stabilizing poles are no longer connected. Sections of the keel were also removed from the frozen ground.

The SV Redeemer came around and a line was sent to shore. The starboard stern fuel tank was removed via the water. All went well and looks good for removing the last of the pieces in this manner.

Spent time policing the area for small pieces of debris in preparation for the final cleanup.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 11

All of the previously stockpiled debris has now been removed from the beach. The starboard side of the bow bottom was freed from the ice with explosives and all of the bow sections have now been removed except for the starboard side wheelhouse, which will be taken off via the water side.

Explosives were also used to free the heavily iced stern bottom sections, however, chipping and sawing is still required to free them.

Wednesdays work should focus on removing the starboard sections of the fish hold and outer hull.

The weather is still cold and windy. Temperature in the low 20’s with winds to 25 knots. Chill factor to 4° to 6° F.

Saturday still appears to be the final day of work.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 10

Removal of the pieces with the highline continued all day. Many pieces have now been removed. All of the vessel is now cut. Only small connections remain so that the pieces can have the highline connected to it so that they do not fall in the wrong direction.

The last of fuel tanks (starboard mid-section) was cut into and was dry.

Around 3 pm, Magone donned a wetsuit and snorkel and swam from the site to the location where the barge can be anchored. The purpose was to examine the bottom for the possibility of moving the pieces to the barge. Dan reported that the route was clear.

I think that more than 30% of the vessel is currently on the barge.

The afternoon was cold with chill factors to 15° F. Tomorrow is to be colder with chill factors to 6° F.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 9

Continued to move pieces. The crane/highline required work this morning and was not available until almost 10:00 a.m. The highline cannot get all the way to the boat while maintaining full functionality of the hook; however, this has not stopped the removal via highline. It took some maneuvering to get the large pieces near the boat, often requiring a second hookup to get it high enough off the ground.

All of the equipment in the engine room has been freed and most of it hauled out. Much of the stern and lazarrette has been removed however the keel is still frozen to the ground.

In the afternoon the SV Redeemer steamed to the area to determine how close it could position a barge. A location within 1,000’ was found. Dan Magone plans on diving on Monday to confirm that there are no obstacles between the Ocean Clipper site and the barge location that would prevent the removal offshore.

The operation of the highline continued all afternoon with the removal of most of the parts from the stern and engine compartments. It will take additional work with the highline and come alongs to position the bow pieces for removal.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 8

Spent the day using the highline. At first, large loads were tried. They were heavy and took a long time. Magones’s crew in now divided with four members required for running the highline at the staging area (one crane operator, one foreman, one loader operator and one truck driver). The remainder of the crew, three members continued to work on the stern and engine compartments. Towards the end of the day, lighter, but speedier loads were used. No animals were seen on the beach on either the morning or evening.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 7

The stern lazarrette and fuel tanks remain firmly frozen and full of ice. Two members of the Magone crew worked all day chipping ice and cutting to free the sternposts, rams and other steering gear. Two other of Magone’s crew worked to remove all equipment from the engine compartment. The engine compartment is a jumbled mess with engines (2), generator, compressor, and reduction gears (which had become separated) scattered.

The additional wire rope arrived and was added to the spool on the crane. With this wire, the highline can now be used. In addition, a new portable abrasive wheel cutter arrived. It is a welcome addition as the foam does not need to be removed when it cuts. However, it can only be used in a few locations.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 6

Continued to muck out areas and to pick up a lot of foam. The foam must be chipped away prior to using a cutting torch as it is very flammable. Picking the foam is a tedious, miserable chore.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 5

During the night the majority of the ice disappeared from the starboard side and within the fish hold. There is a long, wide gash in the fish hold. Water is surging in. It sucked one of the supersacks that was partially full through the gash. There are foam pieces just south of the boat on unstable shelf ice and in the water just below it. We will not be able to collect it until the shelf ice move further back.

A large portion of the ice also disappeared off of the stern of the vessel. Explosives may be used to move one large chunk of ice. Paul and I chopped ice off of the deck. The vessel is now largely ice free and now the water surges against it with a lot of spray.

The 1” cable planned for the highline was not large enough, so Dan has ordered a new cable shipped in. Do not know when it will show.

At 10:30 Dan was ready to set the explosives. By 11:30 just as Dan was preparing the holes in the ice and developing the shape charges. Mike and Juan came out and stationed themselves at appropriate distances from the vessel. Dan ran lines a ways from the vessel and the remainder of us went up the hill. When Dan was ready, he asked Mike and Juan for an all clear for sea mammals. None were in sight and Dan set off the charges. Very unspectacular, a flash and some smoke. We inspected the cuts and Dan was pleased.

Some of the ice at the stern broke and much of it was weakened. We expect to find a lot of the ice gone on Thursday. Magone’s crew continued cutting and chipping more foam. One crewmember began removing the numerous lines, wires and other attachments on the mast. We collected them as they came down.

We staged supersacks beneath the route of the highline and filled them with the garbage bags of items that we removed from the OC. This is a particularly good move as it appears the weather will become windier. We filled 11 sacks with the material. The sharp pieces of metal from the stove, frig etc will go up in cargo nets.

We finished most work by 5:00 p.m. and waited for Dan to return with more explosives. He returned after 7:00 p.m. and set a new charge below the one he had previously done on the port outer false hull.

When it was set, Juan and Mike went on lookout for marine mammals. Several seals had swum into the area and we waited for them to leave. The charge went off and accomplished the goal. Broke at 8:15 p.m. and headed for the vehicles.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 4

By 8:30am, approximately 2” of new snow had fallen. Magone’s crew was cutting the front ballast section off. Another part of the crew was still in the fish hold chipping off the foam. Dan used a torch to open a hatch just aft of the main cabin near the port railing. It was a storage section packed tightly with crab line, bait bags, bait containers, tarps, hoses, baskets, a countertop and junk. Peter the ECO crew and myself spent three hours hauling it out. We carried some supersacks from Magone to the site.

Around 11:30 a.m., the crane and loader showed up at the site.

Dan informed us that he would be doing some blasting on Wednesday.

We worked in the fish hold in the afternoon to remove the pieces of foam that were chipped. Just enough is chipped for a torch to cut through the metal without lighting the foam. A total of four supersacks were filled and hauled out of the hold. An additional full sack and a partial sack were left.

The highline was set up and partially tested but nothing was moved. Dan’s crew moved to the lazarette and began the same chipping process. One member continued to cut off the stern.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 3

At approximately 8:30 a.m. in the morning, the SV Redeemer and the Kashega barge arrived.The harbor is still full of ice, but with some maneuvering, they were able to clear a path.

At the Ocean Clipper, and Dustin and Paul from ECO were trying to clean out the main cabin but the cutters were cutting below them and the cabin was filled with sparks and smoke, so the ECO crew were removed from the vessel during cutting.

Instead, ECO crew and I moved the port wheelhouse section further from the boat. They undid the rigging and moved it to a new vantage point to move the section. There were pieces that were getting hung up and we had to rerig again to prevent that from occurring. We moved the piece successfully and then took the come along and repositioned it to pull the port forward compartment section off the vessel. Once it was ready, Paul did the honors of operating the come along.

Dan Magone and I talked about progress and he was going to talk with his cutters to make sure that we can get in to clean up so that debris does not scatter from the vessel when a piece is removed. He was pleased that we were helping him make progress. He informed us that it is likely that all pieces will be removed via the highline, but it’s not clear how that will work on the last piece. He also informed us that he will likely have to use explosives on the ice on the starboard stern quarter and in the engine compartment and fish holds.

The sea ice is melting off the starboard side and the water is lapping against the forward part of the hull. We mucked out the forward compartment. The area was full of debris. With the vessel listed such a large amount, the debris had formed a large mass in the deepest corner. We used shovels to muck out the mixture. We probably added another 15 bags of debris to the pile.

Once we finished mucking, the crew cut the starboard forward compartment side. Freeing the section caused a lot of problems.

The port stern fuel tank was cut free and was completely empty.

Dan Magone spent a lot of time devising a plan for the aft wheelhouse section. It is a double hull that he had not planned on. He sent several workers into the fish hold to chip the foam off of the steel. Extremely laborious.

Dan stopped by the bunkhouse in the evening for a few minutes. We talked about the large amount of debris coming off the vessel and he said that he would throw it on his barge. He is pleased with how things are going. He’s beginning to think that it will take two weeks to complete.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 2

Dan’s crew continued to remove all of the walls and woodwork in the house and some more of the false deck.The wood was again disposed of.

In mid morning, the ECO crew came to the site. Dustin Jones and Paul. We went into the house and began bagging insulation and other non-burnable debris and removing bags from the vessel. We also removed the smaller pieces of wood and disposed of them.

At some point, Dan had the cutter open access to the forward compartment just aft of the bow. It is a living/storage quarter of some type containing large amounts of all types of debris. The hull was lined apparently insulated with wood. There was again a large amount of wood that was disposed of. The ECO crew, Peter and myself began mucking out the quarter. We have found welding bottles in the area and will remove them the following day.

Dan’s lone cutter continued to work on the bow. The bow was eventually cut into two pieces and felled. The remainder of the port bulwark was removed. The cutter than began working on the port lazarette.

The fish hold and engine room are heavily iced. The vessel is frozen to the ground and there is a tremendously large amount of weight from the ice.

Dan began to string the cable for the overhead line. The crew carried a 1” cable from the staging to the vessel. Later, the four of us helped lay out a ¾” wire rope that went from the staging area to the vessel, through a large block high on the mast, and back to the staging site.

Dan’s crew went back to unload more equipment from the SV Western Viking.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 1

Western Viking was moving outside the breakwater. At 7:30 a.m., the Western Viking was moving outside the breakwater. It took almost two hours to get in; a total of 500 yards. They could not get the boat to the dock because of ice. They unloaded anyway and took compressor and acetlyne lines to the site where we ran them down from the staging site, a distance of approximately 1,000’.

Dan had part of his crew removing the woodwork and insulation in the house. The vessel is listing at approximately 30o making work difficult. In addition to the list, there is a large amount of ice on the low side.

As the wood was removed, and disposed of. Dan’s crew also began removing the wood covering the deck. A single worker was assigned to begin cutting the boat. They removed the port bulwark and began to cut the bow in preparation for removal.

Late in the afternoon as it became evident that the vessel contained an enormous amount of debris strewn throughout the vessel. It appeared that most personal belongings were left and no attempt was made to remove any of the ships stores. The Tribal ECO contact was notified that his crew was needed at the site.

Oil was found in the Anchor winch. Dan drained approximately eight gallons from the reservoir. National Geographic filmed the event as there is very little exciting action occurring.

During the day, Peter and Juan Guerro monitored sea mammal activity in the area. There are sea lions on Sea Lion rock. No fur seals were observed.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 0

Dan Magone, Peter Murphy and Dave Gaudet arrived at St Paul. The harbor was clogged with ice and ice outside the harbor was too thick to approach closer than ¼ mile. The SV Western Viking was inside the ice at the edge of the pack. Dan borrowed a VHF radio from NOAA and contacted the vessel. They reported that they had tried to get in but that it was not possible.
This website was prepared by the MCA Foundation under award number NA09NMF4630309 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or U.S. Department of Commerce.