Dive Report

After three dives on and after July 27, 2016 diver Rick Bishop of Bishop Diving and Salvage determined that 80% of the Phoenix is in very good shape, 20% (bow area) is in terrible shape.

Rick has invested a lot of time determining the best way to raise the ship and the cheapest options for storing her afterwards for a 5-day “drying-out period.” (Experts say if she isn’t dried out properly she will “explode.”) The estimate of charges came in a week ago and comes in at $77,000. This is about three times what we had anticipated and there is no absolute guarantee the ship can be brought up in one piece.

Additional details:
  1. $53,000.00: Barge and 50-ton crane including mobilization and de-mobilization, delivery of vessel to drying-out facility, storage of vessel and placement of vessel on a truck for transport. (1 day to bring her up, 5 days storage before trucking her to Port Townsend, WA for restoration)
  2. $24,000.00: Diving charges for removal of mud inside the vessel and placement of slings under vessel. (2 days to pump out the mud, 2 days to place straps beneath the front and back of vessel, 1 day of raising the Phoenix with pumps to pump the water out as she’s being brought up)


“Rick made it clear the above are rough figures, totally ballpark…there could be some additional expenses like some ‘unknown’ items — he made it clear that if all goes well and not all the divers days are needed, then this will be deducted … he also was clear that there could be unknowns which could require more time … he wanted to be upfront and have this out there … the mud being pumped out will be scheduled far enough in advance so that if (worse case scenario) irreparable damage is discovered, then the salvage operation ends … Rick is confident the raising can take place in 1 day: the Phoenix is a sieve and not in that deep water — he wants to remind everyone that the boat could come apart while being raised but doesn’t believe this will happen. This is one of the unknowns … The Phoenix will be raised out of the water, set on the deck of the crane and then be moved …” —Brian Cowden


Given this news, We feel stunned, immobilized and discouraged. None of us know what to do next. If anything is going to be done, it must be done soon, as the Phoenix is continuing to deteriorate daily. We were able to pay for the diving, thanks to some donations from people willing not to receive tax deductions while we were pursuing non-profit status and and to owner Naomi’s savings.

Naomi has been working hard with a lawyer who is giving his time pro bono to get the Phoenix of Hiroshima Project registered as 501(c)(3) so donations will be tax-deductible.  Six of the seven board members recommended are in place and all the forms ready to sign.
But Naomi, like the rest of the family, says she is feeling overwhelmed and confused, like “a deer in the headlights.” She is withdrawing from the board and willing to sign the Phoenix over to an entity. We are looking into next steps.

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