Hey all,

I am working for a salvage company in Malaysia, and were currently on a project to remove a wreck in deep in the Borneo jungles. Doesn't pay much but I am determined to do the job well, Attached are some photos of the wreck.

As you can see, there is absolute zero viz down there. and currents can be really strong.
I have tried inspecting the wrecks using standard scuba gear but I cannot go deeper than 3 meters.  Probably with a KMB, more weights, and a shotline I could get to the bottom.

To make matters worse, these ships have been there for so long that the officials have lost all records of the vessel. So we do not know how the ship looks like underwater, and we cannot see it for ourselves either. Also, I do not know the depth, but I will soon.

I am inspecting the wreck again soon and I will be prepared this time.

The reason I wrote this is to find out if anyone else have done salvaging like this, or have any ideas to remove this wreck with a budget of only 30,000 USD.

My best bet is to secure the bow (above water) with either a pontoon or seal it completely.
I plan to use sonar imaging to find out what its like down there, but would it work in zero viz with strong currents?
Once the front is secured, we either plan to refloat the stern or pull it out using a tug boat. It all depends on the state of the vessel underwater.
My team and I also plan to use an airlift to remove whatever silt around the bottom that is causing it to be stuck.

It is relatively close to the riverbank, but previous efforts by other companies to pull it out using a crane barely moved it.

So this is a near impossible task for a small budget company like mine, but again I just gotta do this somehow.

So is there anyone out there with a brilliant idea to get rid of this wreck?

These are my best estimates : Length: 34m, Weight: <150 tons, Depth: 10m

any advice appreciated.

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If you cant get divers down on the wreck, you chances of success are slim. You need at least a 32 lb weight belt and dive with hose. Diver needs to survey wreck to see what you are up against and only then can you make a salvage plan. In my opinion you will need to hand jet. Are you familiar with swivel "T" hand jet nozzle? Easy to make with a few pipe fittings. 60 lb psi min you can get with 3" one stage pump. you can feed one pump to the other to get more pressure using 2 pumps. Of coarse larger 2 stage pump would be better giving you 100 lbs psi. You will probably need to work inside boat to airlift mud out and maybe add flotation. Find out how much time you have for diving between tidal shift. What is the tidal range for that area? When diving in Inchon Korea we had 45 min dive time between tide change and had 20 to 30 ft tide range. This was in the bay, not river.
Yes, i understand and am seeing this project is possible but it is probably going to need a good size crane & barge.
Yea Lance I rember it very well and your lucky to be alive today. We all make dumb mistakes in our early days and from time to time me included hopefully its not our last dumb mistake. As I rember it your job was to take a rigging strap down to and under the keel by pushing it to the other side with a pole so as to keep you safe. After that you were to come up and go around the hull on the other side and place it so the air bags could be rigged up, rig up a bag one on each side of the hull. While doing this task you chose to swim directly under the hull with the strap since it had clearance and looked so easy you went directly under the keel. When you came up with your hose now under the keel and were greeted by me in a less than appreciated tone for not following the dive instructions and I wouldnt let you go back down to follow your air hose back to clear it, all of a sudden the vessel rolled over-oh s*** !. Lesson dont go under a load no matter how easy it looks. Just talking about that escape unnerves me. I know you learned something there glad for all of us you made it. Bye the way tug weighed 97 tons.
Another lesson happened while salvaging a 100' vessel in Mexico with Kurt Ward back in our younger days using surface supplied air . Kurt decided he would just come to the surface when ever he wanted to with out letting topside know anything about it. My pal Kurt not only almost got hit in the head by a passing panga but had a dangerously close call with the boats propeller. Luck to be alive but not so lucky to have to listen have to me afterwards about how hard and sad it would be for me to have to tell his wife that he didnt make it that day. Were both Lucky and know only too well how fast things can and do happen and can go wrong.
Jon, i know both of these guys, Fred & Ace, it is good advice to take, also did you take my advice on contacts that i gave you? Also think about penetration of the vessel and using expanding foam to displace water providing easier lift, it worked on a project that i was on in Alaska., Or if you can use ''VIBRAGEL'' blowing this boat in pieces then pulling it out in parts. If that is allowed or accessable in your neck of the woods. Lance Padfield, San Fran Ca USA.....

Tell me more about this foam. Does it work underwater out of the box? Does it dry? is it cost effective?

standard foam will work, trick is you take down 30 gallon garbage bags,closed then stick foam nozzel in side of bag and let it fill that way the water will not disperse the foam.
If you have access to 55 gal. drums of two component foam rig them up with air powered drum pumps and time the piston action to you get 50-50 foam mix . you would have to use two delivery 1/2 inch hose's A & B foam component. rig hose to two ball valves and connect to pipe T,
at T outlet attach mixing head. ( 1 inch pipe 10 inchs long filled with a coarse metal pot scrubber ) end of mixing head then reduced down to 1/2 inch. ( The foam flowing through the course pot scrubber will mix the A & B.
When pumping the foam you must keep the nozzel in the foam at all times. DO NOT FOAM YOURSELF INTO A CORNER. This stuff gets all over everything and its there till the end of time.
Foam has an expansion of about 15-1 and it will go everywhere.
You don't want to be the guy that chops it out when they scrap the vessel.
Wow guys, if anything bad happened you wouldn't be here giving me advice. Did the hull crush the airhose?

Ed, yes I have the tidal forecast book, and it looks like we have 15mins of complete stillness which gives us about 45 mins to an hour of diving. This is around 3-4am.

Feel free to post any relevant info on here guys. I'm learning so much from all this.
On the divers air hose no it didnt crush it I just took the band mask off line and was able to pull it back to the boat hook it back up and continue the job. Aw another day at the outdoor office !

While doing another vessel salvage of a big ship in the channel of Lake Marakabo in Venezuela in swift current we had to tie our air hoses to the wreck as we worked so we would not be dragged off the wreck we worked with our eyes closed no viz and all by feel only in 60' of water.
I have been thinking about using Dale's water jet system for wreck 2, does anyone know what type of pump I need?

and which is better for jet tunneling, water or air?

(I just realised, in Malay, air means water! pronounced: ayer)

thanks for the info, will look into it in more detail.. never dealt with foam before, can it dry and harden underwater, and if it stays in the bag, it wouldn't stick to the walls right? also, would it absorb water if exposed?

Foam may be too dangerous for this job. You would have to get inside wreck and work your way to back dragging foam hoses as well as divers hose(difficult even with no current). Equipment and foam chemical is not cheap, not to mention freight. Would think there could be a buildup of driftwood to clear along hull. Dive on the wreck first to do a complete survey. Slack tide would be a good time to do a survey, but if you can only dive on slack tide, job would take too long and barge rentals will eat your lunch. Check internet for surplus salvage lift bags (something you could reuse on next salvage job). If you dont have depth guage on boat, take a fishing pole with you with heavy lead weight and find depth.


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