Salvage of the M/V Hardshell
At approximately 1500 hours on April 16, 2007, the Safe/Sea Emergency Response Center received a call from the owner of a twenty-six foot Thomas landing craft, sunk at its mooring just south of Sandy Point, Prudence Island. Safe/Sea immediately sortied a vessel to the location of the casualty to assess the situation. Upon arriving on scene, the landing craft was observed to be almost completely sunk, with only the bow visible above the water. Due to the lack of motion in the heavy seas, it was determined that the vessel was resting vertically on the bottom. Unfortunately, the conditions did not permit the immediate recovery of the vessel. It was decided that the re-float could take place the following morning after the wind turned to the north, and the vessel was provided with some lee, thus making the operation much less hazardous.
At 0800 hours, on April 17, Captain Phil LeBlanc, Captain Andy Casey, and deckhand Rob Hutchinson returned to the scene of the casualty aboard both the M/V Safe/Sea Newport and the M/V Safe/Sea Salvor. Captain Casey, acting as diver, entered the water and secured lift bags to the casualty, one on either beam, and one at the stern. After carefully filling each to insure the vessel did not roll over, the landing craft was gently lifted from the bottom where it had sat for 24 hours. Once the vessel was floated to a point where it could be moved without fear of instability, it was moved to the beach where the water could be pumped out. Normally, sunken vessels are de-watered while still at their mooring, however, with the weather conditions deteriorating and the vessel being an aluminum landing craft, beaching the vessel was determined to be the safest course of action.
The vessel was completely pumped out by 1030 hours, and was then towed to Little Harbor Boatyard where it was immediately hauled out of the water for preservation work.