Client: Cowes Harbour Commission & Le Boat
Contractor: MMC Diving Services
Duration: 1 week
Date posted: 10-12-2019
In the space of a week, MMC Divers were called out to attend three separate salvage operations.
Whilst on charter a Sunsail 40' sailing yacht from Port Solent in Portsmouth Harbour hit a steel Lateral navigation mark at the entrance to Cowes Harbour in the Solent which proceeded to rip the rudder off.
This caused the vessel to drift westwards down the Solent until she sank just off Gurnard Bay. The strong spring tides gave a very limited slack water window to dive, combined with the vessel being buried in the mud not enabling access underneath made raising her more challenging.
Our divers placed 8 Tonnes of MBU closed lift bags inside the three cabins, they then attached hoses to the bags, and the valves were opened, the diver was removed from the water and air was pumped down to inflate the bags via a controlled surface manifold to raise the vessel to the surface.
Once the vessel was floating, the divers then re-rigged x2 custom purpose built steels under the vessel either side of the keel to re-attach x4 parachute bags too, these steels were designed to tow from like a cradle to limit the damage to the vessel while providing a lower point to lift from.
The following day a fishing boat in Cowes river sunk on its mooring by the Folly Inn, our team attended this and completed the salvage within a day. They then de-mobilised, packed up and drove to Oxford on the Thames where a 50' cabin cruiser sank alongside the quay after the transom got wedged under the soffit of a river wall, it Is thought that water levels rose from the torrential rain causing the back end of the vessel to submerge and sink.
Due to the conditions, the methodology and on site dynamic risk assessments had to be planned carefully, this was due to a fleet of vessels moored closely downstream of the stricken salvage and very strong river flows.
These works were completed using MBU closed lift bags through the bow and stern thrusters to get her afloat. Our cross trained rope access / dive team used a combination of winches, deviated rigging to ensure that once afloat the 50'cruiser could be manoeuvred safely down tide passed the fleet of vessels to the awaiting crane, where she would be lifted out.