Tug boat lifting begins - Philadelphia News

August 9, 2008 3:41:12 PM PDT
Crews have removed one of two tugs from the bottom of a Philadelphia waterway.The boats mysteriously sank two weeks ago, creating an oil spill, and potential problems for their owners.

For most of the day, Salvage crews from Don Jon Marine worked to extract the Carol Wales and Big Boy, the two tug boats that sank into the belly of the Schuylkill River two weeks ago.

"When these things sink, they're full of water, so they're pretty heavy obviously," Paul Hankins of Don Jon Marine said.

Lifting the Carol Wales out of the water required the help of a 1000 ton crane, The Chesapeake 1000, brought in from New York. Now, once getting the tug out of the water, the idea was to get as much water out of it before lifting it unto the ground so they can determine once and for all, why they sank.

The job of removing tons of mud from the sunken Carol Wales was nasty, hot, and miserable, according to those Action News spoke with.

"There's a lot of oil and fuel and stuff that you got to deal with on this one; it's probably one of the worse ones we've done," Stan Kuch, a driver with Don Jon marine for the last three years, said.

Why the tugboats sank is the question the Coast Guard is looking to answer.

They're looking for weathering, possible leaks from the hull, and then once the investigating officers complete the investigation then we will have a sound result of what took place," CPO Richard Braucci of the US Coast Guard said.

Braucci told Action News nothing has been ruled out.

So far, crews have managed to contain the oil and diesel fuel leaking from the vessels and environmental damage is said to be minimal.

Tomorrow morning, salvage crews will return for the second tug, the Big Boy. The price tag for the salvage is at a quarter of a million dollars.

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