Navy begins final Ehime Maru relocation

U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
Nov. 24, 2001

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Ehime Maru began its journey from the shallow-water recovery site to the final relocation site more than 12 nautical miles south of Barbers Point today at 10:44 a.m.

The roughly 21-nautical-mile trip is expected to take about 24 hours, contingent on favorable weather conditions.

The Crowley Maritime 450-10 barge began lifting Ehime Maru from the bottom today. Crowley’s tug Sea Valor is towing the 450-10 barge at 1 knot with Ehime Maru suspended about 90 feet below the barge.

Ehime Maru’s weight is distributed by the two straps and specially-designed lifting and spreader assembly that supported the ship on its Oct. 12-15 transit from a depth of 2,000 feet about 9 miles south of Diamond Head to the shallow-water recovery site. The shallow-water site was 115 feet deep about 1 mile south of Honolulu International Airport’s Reef Runway.

Divers from the Navy’s Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One prepared the ship for its final relocation. These preparations included tapping into a diesel fuel tank on the ship to remove any remaining fuel, but the tank was empty, as predicted. They also removed fishing gear, long line and other material on deck. Internal doors, hatches and ports also were secured to prevent material inside the ship from escaping.

Once at the final relocation site, Ehime Maru will be released in more than 6,000 feet of water. Two pingers were placed on the Ehime Maru prior to its descent. USS Salvor will track the pingers signal and fix the vessel's final position at the close of the operation.

The public is also reminded that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created a temporary flight restriction (TFR) for the final relocation site that extends to an altitude of 2,000 feet and covers a radius of 3 nautical miles centered on Ehime Maru’s location. The U.S. Coast Guard maintains a surface safety zone extending 1 nautical mile in all directions around the vessel working on or moving the Ehime Maru. Any person entering the U.S. Coast Guard surface safety zone without permission of the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port is subject to a civil penalty of up to $27,500 and/or criminal penalties up of to $50,000 and up to five years imprisonment or both.

The TFR and surface safety zone will move with the 450-10 barge as it transports Ehime Maru from the shallow water recovery site to the final relocation site. Any questions concerning the Coast Guard surface safety zone can be answered by calling (808)522-8264, ext. 351. For questions related to the FAA’s temporary flight restrictions the public should call 808-840-6202.
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Revised 11/24/01 at 12:20 p.m. (HST)