Salvage Code Red: Graveyard Coast

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 25 May, 7.30pm

The New Flame – a sunken freighter in the Strait of Gibraltar – has been relieved of its valuable cargo and salvage masters now attempt to slice the boat into sections for removal. Divers face a vicious current and heavy swell when wrapping a chain around the ship, which acts as a giant “cheese cutter” to remove the ship’s 700-ton accommodation block. But the fierce swell around the top of the wreck throws off the divers and they struggle to connect the shackles and secure the enormous floating crane. A test lift snaps a wire; will the team be able to remove the wreck? Firmly embedded in the seabed, the New Carissa lies prone to the fierce ocean swell, thwarting salvors since sinking off the US west coast in 1999. Salvage masters must devise a way to access the ship without contending with pounding waves. They invest in jack-up barges and a specially-tailored cable car system to ferry salvors from the beach directly to the wreck. The team uses cranes to lift the enormous hulk of steel from the sand, and the metal is sliced up section-by-section. Once the wreck is light enough, hydraulic pullers heave the last remains out of the seabed.

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