Built in 1945, the 141-foot steam powered tugboat was utilized by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroads. Originally named the Edward J Engel, it moved railroad car barges from Oakland to San Francisco until 1969. After which she passed through several hands and eventually her name was changed to TV ‘Respect’. She remained a steam powered vessel till 2007, when she sank at her moorings in the Oakland Estuary.
In 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency embarked on a program to clean up the Oakland Estuary. Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. performed a dive survey to assess the situation and took sediment samples throughout the sunken vessel site. Tests determined that the sediment contained a high level of bunker oils both surrounding and inside the vessel.
By October, the United States Coast Guard was involved due to the presence of the bunker oil, working with the various agencies to remove the contamination from the Estuary.
The vessel, on bottom since 2007, had become fully silted in; with all the interior spaces filled with contaminated buildup. An in-depth plan was developed to capture and treat the deposit. Divers operated suction dredges to remove the accumulated silt and contaminates. A tank farm was built along the shore to decant the spoils collected, and treat the water before discharge. Flocculent was added to the water to accelerate the settling of the silt, which was then trucked away for proper disposal.
Complicating the salvage operation was the orientation of the vessel, listed hard over at 110 degrees starboard, and fully submerged at low tide. Heavy lift rigging and equipment, staged in Global’s California regional office in Vallejo, CA was brought to the site and used to dead lift the 705 ton vessel to the surface, where the vessel was patched and pumped out. The vessel was refloated, and delivered to CalRecycle who will take custody of the vessel.
“This project highlights Global Diving’s capacity to combine our marine salvage expertise along with our environmental capabilities to resolve a complex problem,” states David DeVilbiss, Vice President of Marine Casualty & Emergency Response.