Sound Developer Removal

December , 2011

The Sound Developer was an ex-US Navy landing craft that was 132 feet long overall. She had a beam of 29 feet and a normal draft of 5 feet. The US government sold the vessel at auction and the ship passed through several owners before falling into neglect which ultimately ended with the derelict sinking at her moorings in the harbor at Cordova, Alaska in august of 2009.

Shortly after the sinking, the US Coast Guard activated Global Diving & Salvage through the established Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) contract. Global mobilized resources to Cordova where the pollution threat was mitigated through the removal of the copious oil filled containers, batteries and other HAZMAT. The US Coast Guard then worked through a nearly 2 year long process seeking Headquarters approval to refloat the vessel, transport it to shore and deliver it to the City of Cordova for dismantling and disposal.

Upon receipt of approval, the US Coast Guard solicited competitive bids to affect the recovery. Through this process, Global was contracted by the USCG to remove the pollution and navigation threat from the Harbor, move it to an area onshore outside of the harbor and perform gross decontamination of the vessel.

Due to the remoteness of the location, no heavy lift assets were available. A plan was developed to utilize lift bags to raise the vessel, secure it for the short tow out of the harbor to the designated shore position.

Divers secured a total of 31 lift bags that were used to raise the vessel: 24 – nine ton; 5 – five ton and 2 – twenty two ton bags. The lift bags were strategically placed and secured to the hull. All the lift bags were connected to a manifold, from which all inflation / deflation operations were carried out under the supervision and at the direction of the salvage master.

Once afloat the bags were further secured to the vessel and made ready for the open water tow to the beaching area outside the harbor. The vessel was placed aground at high tide and was shifted further ashore through subsequent tide cycles.

The operation was timed to coincide with the highest tides of the season to ensure it would be brought on shore as high up the beach as possible. This phase of the operation was complicated by extremely challenging weather conditions that impacted the schedule and the work conditions.

Once the Sound Developer was safely secured on shore, Global conducted further cleaning and gross decontamination. The vessel was inspected and cleared by on scene US Coast Guard personnel and custody of the vessel was transferred to the City of Cordova.


12/16/11: Sound Developer Exits Cordova Harbor (Cordova Times)
12/9/11: Sound Developer refloated, Coast Guard monitors salvage (Alaska Business Monthly)