Ocean Hercules to arrive


U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs


PEARL HARBOR (July 12, 2001) -- Ocean Hercules, the vessel contracted by the Navy to prepare Ehime Maru for this summer's recovery operation, is scheduled to arrive in Honolulu Harbor about 7 a.m. tomorrow.

The approximately 266-foot-long vessel, which left San Francisco July 5, will be at Honolulu Harbor's Pier 1 for 24 to 48 hours. It will then head to the spot about 9 miles south of Oahu where Ehime Maru now lies in 2,000-feet of water. Once there, it will prepare the ship for the arrival in early August of Rockwater 2, which will try to lift Ehime Maru about 100 feet off the ocean floor and move it while still submerged to shallower water about a mile south of Honolulu International Airport's Reef Runway. When it is stabilized at a depth of about 115 feet, divers will search all safely accessible areas to recover missing crewmembers, personal effects and certain unique characteristics of the ship, such as its nameplate and anchors, for a possible memorial.

Ocean Hercules' prep work will include using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Phoenix to attempt to clear Ehime Maru's decks to the extent possible of any cargo nets and other obstacles that might impact the marine environment.

Honolulu Harbor's Pier 1 is not publicly accessible.
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Revised 7/26/01 at 1:46 p.m. (HST)