comscore Army divers to size up sunken fishing vessel for refloat, salvage | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Army divers to size up sunken fishing vessel for refloat, salvage

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    The Judy K, a fishing boat that was apparently abandoned, initially sank Jan. 11 and remained half-submerged Saturday at Pier 16 in Honolulu Harbor.

Army divers will conduct a preliminary assessment of a fishing vessel that sank more than five months ago off Pier 16 to determine the suitability of salvage operations to refloat the vessel at a later date, the service said.

Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command will dive on the 77-foot Judy K Tuesday and Wednesday to inspect “refloat-related details such as hull composition, potential lift points and structural integrity.”

“Army divers have worked with state and local government in Hawaii in the past for underwater maintenance projects and in this case they were requested by the Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbors Division,” the service said.

Department of Transportation commercial solicitations to refloat the vessel have been unsuccessful, according to the Army.

“This assessment and potential salvage provides a training opportunity for the divers and can be balanced against their mandated mission set,” the Army said.

More than five months after the apparently abandoned Judy K sank Jan. 11 and spilled an estimated 150 gallons of diesel fuel into Hono­lulu Harbor, the vessel remains mostly submerged and blocking one side of Pier 16.

The owner was believed to be dead, so the state was left to deal with the sunken boat. But bids to remove the Judy K came in much higher than expected, the state Department of Transportation said months ago.

The agency was exploring other salvage options, including working with other agencies.

The Judy K, built in 1979 with a gross tonnage of 83 tons, was listed as belonging to a company known as Sapphire USA Inc. But the company’s business registration has been expired since 1999, according to state records.

The Coast Guard said it opened an Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund with coverage for response efforts of up to $75,000. The U.S. government started the trust fund after the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989.

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