Navy Begins Crucial Phase Of Ehime Maru Recovery - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News, Weather and Sports

Navy Begins Crucial Phase Of Ehime Maru Recovery

The Navy began trying to raise the stern of the Ehime Maru and slip wires underneath its hull. It's a delicate task that could put the entire recovery mission in jeopardy if it fails.

It took most of the day to make the proper adjustments on the Rockwater Two. The salvage winches needed to be ready. All of the connecting cables configured just so.

The plan is to use the Rockwater's winches to do some heavy lifting - raising the rear end of the Ehime Maru high enough to install equipment needed to move the sunken ship from it's resting spot on the ocean floor.

The lift requires precautions, a Coast Guard boat standing by in case of emergency and an oil skimming ship patrolling the seas in case any fuel leaks from the Ehime Maru during the process.

The salvage ship's main winches provide the power to lift the Ehime Maru high enough to pull wires underneath the sunken ship making it possible to rig the ship for its move. The unknown ocean depths pose the greatest danger to the entire operation. The Navy aborted it's first attempt at rigging the ship for its move last week after the sea floor turned out to be so soft the Navy's undersea drills could not be controlled precisely.

The overall plan calls for lifting the Ehime Maru and moving it closer to shore, settling it in 100 feet of water. A safer depth for divers to go on board and recover the remains of missing Japanese crewmembers. But first everything rests on the strong arms of the Rockwater Two.

If everything else goes as planned the Navy intends to lift and move the Ehime Maru sometime in mid-September.

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