The Ship Sinkers | Free DocumentaryFeb 27, 2020
they are floating junkyards suspended decommissioned naval vessels toxic time bombs full of PCBs asbestos lead paint oil and grease hundreds of rust in
shipyards around the world what can be done since 1991 this team of canadians has taken an integrated approach They clean the
ships and sink them Meticulously timed explosive charges cut through steel plate like a hot knife through butter The ship sinks within minutes of all this chaos and explosive energy comes to life marine life as these ancient warriors they become artificial reefs in a few days algae begin to grow creating food for other animals which in turn attract other predators increasing diversity to form an entire ecosystem of reefs artificial reefs magnets for life and magnets for divers wellington new zealand this is the frigate Wellington the F 69 and within a week it will be on the seabed as an avid diver Marco Zeeman thought that sinking a ship to make an artificial reef would be a good idea and that idea became a passion that would occupy six years of his life, the F 69 began life as the boat of British Royal Navy but she was sweet and saw service in the cod war with Iceland and the Falklands War in 1982, she joined the New Zealand Navy and was renamed the Wellington before the Wellington could be sunk , it must be spotlessly clean 113 meters long 3100 tons the ship is huge and as Marco gets closer so is the amount of work that remains to be done before the scheduled sync day of November 12 but today all year before of meetings planning an obstacle vanishes as the f 69 is towed into wellington harbor for final prep work before sinking today the weather is perfect but the city has the nickname Windy Welling ton due to strong winds sweeping the Cook Strait these winds could make sinking the F 69 a challenge now docked in Wellington Harbor final prep work is underway removing hatches pipes anything that could contaminate the ocean is unsafe for divers or dangerous sold for scrap even the name of the ship but the work is progressing slowly and the day of the sinking with all the fanfare and anticipation is fast approaching boy Gabriel i think we have been here in 28 29 days now the first day i got on board the ship i could not believe it i walked around i thought a lot of the initial design would have been done inside the ship in the prep done and i walked around there wasn't a single bulkhead or a wall or anything pulled out and was almost panicked.
Roy Gabriel station has sunk more ships than some navies a retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police explosives expert is one of the partners of Canadian artificial reef consultants and is here to provide his experienced guidance it has been a month now 12 hours up to date seven days a week trying to get this to the point where it is now the brute force work of junk removal continues crazy we have to get this tank out of here you'll see he'll open it up and clean it out and that takes too long artificial reefs attract the life and attract divers and divers bring in tourism dollars this is the former USS Spiegel Grove just off Key Largo in the Florida Keys now a major diving attraction but had problems at first and is a good example of the Potential risks when sinking thousands of tons of steel after clearing the 5,400 ton 155 meter Beetle Grove was towed into position and anchored p For final preparations, but on May 17, 2002, one day before she was supposed to sing something and no one knows exactly what went wrong, the ship began to sink, not only was it sinking, but it began to capsize and she ended up upside down, a navigational hazard and certainly not an artificial reef, finally after a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money the rescuers got her to the bottom but to starboard today with a little push. from Hurricane Dennis in 2005, it stands upright and is becoming a thriving reef popular with divers while Roy Gabriel is working in Wellington in New Zealand, his partners take root in the west and d J force is evaluating what the next project might be one Canadian destroyer escort his team has been involved in the sinking of some 19 ships with Wellington being number 20 they have learned what it takes to do a controlled sinking of the ship Jay Strait explains sinking the ship is much more than just adding explosives and run like hell what you really need to do is be very careful to calculate how stable you keep the ship during this sinking operation, the key points to look at are the center of gravity and the center of buoyancy of the ship when the ship is clear the center of buoyancy is low on the ship and the center of gravity is high on the ship as the ship comes Beginning to flood the center of buoyancy moves up while the center of gravity moves down, but if the boat is flooded unevenly or if air is trapped inside, the center of buoyancy will shift and the boat may begin to lean to one side.
There is a crucial 30 seconds where the bu centers. Buoyancy and gravity intersect when the boat is most vulnerable. If the center of buoyancy at the center of gravity crosses more than 30 centimeters away, the boat is likely to roll onto its side. A ship like the F 69 has hundreds of compartments that could be trapped by an air pocket creating unwanted buoyancy and instability if the sinking is to go as planned it is important not to overlook a single one so the ship manager Project Green Standard All Androi Check And Double Check Diving Adventure A wreck is getting into the boat and that means cutting enough access holes for divers to get in and out.
These holes also help flood the boat in the process of sinking and throughout the boat to allow air inside the boat to escape as the water rushes in once you've reviewed plans to properly ventilate the boat is reduced. to look at every place that an air pocket could accumulate and then mark it with a can of spray paint, then cutting torches can work to make events the muscle behind the sinking of the ship is high-tech explosives this is a sample of the linear flexible copper that will be used to explosively sink the frigate Wellington its RDX explosives inside with a khakhra firing around the outside it is designed and built specifically for cutting steel the shape of the explosive charge controls the shock wave that is produced creating an intense narrow cone of energy that can cut through an inch of steel plate what we have here is the frontal site or the side or commercial of the explosive charge this is the portion that will face the inside of the ship and this is where you will actually physically cut a one meter square hole or a 39 square inch hole in the side of the ship.
The explosion first pushes the steel and then the water pushes its way into Marko's shoulder. there is less than a week left before the day of the sinking and there is still much to do one of our biggest challenges in ships the size is all the hydraulic oil we have to deal with there is a lot of it and every drop must be removed before sinking clean the oil spilled it's not a high tech job spreading sawdust on the oily stain and picking it up then throwing it in a dumpster and then going back and doing it again on board every ship has miles and miles of cable so what we have to do on board of these boats is to remove every bit of cable what will happen these supports will start to deteriorate faster than the rest of the boat and they will start to fall apart and subsequently the cable will fall off and become a hindrance to the divers for which is fine to leave it like that won't be a problem but the main main group is a cable running through the gutters and has to come out.
It's not just diver safety that's an issue. the insulation on these wires could contain toxic PCBs and that's something that just can't go into the ocean. The entire ship's wiring was removed. It has a lot of copper, for example, that piece would be worth every three or four dollars. and you go t tons literally tons one of the ways they fund these artificial reef projects like the Wellington here is through pure scrap value they will scrap the ship and use that money to get the rest of the ship ready a ship like this one will have over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars worth of scrap bones and what you see is the guys are processing that scrap now that it's coming out of the show.
It's a safe bet that no one was thinking about scrap value when HMCS Saskatchewan, a Canadian destroyer escort, launched. in 1963 a disclaimer british columbia these sleek and fast boats were considered the Cadillacs of the fleet now only about 110 kilometers north of where the Saskatchewan was launched offers another kind of Cadillac experience like an impressive wreck dive a short night distance british columbia forging a straight is a bit of a homecoming he and his partners helped a sinker in 1997 with the british columbia marine animal artificial reef society how these a n enemies have flourished colonizing the township of 110 meters long 2600 Ian Hall a local dive operator has seen the impact of the wreck made this is a catch or sank in 1997 and almost immediately the number of tourists coming to the island to dive Nanaimo increased the city of the Nanaimo Economic Development Commission estimates through a rudimentary survey that dive tourism means three thousand 1.5 to 4 million dollars into the local economy each year What do shipwrecks and divers have?
Is it the marine life or is it the technical challenge? they exert a stronghold we drove from toronto it took only a couple of days and its for you to know over 2,000 miles so you know where we are starving when you drive that far just to dive some pristine wrecks like the spiegel grove the spiegel grove is that ship that capsized before being sunk EG long florida gives divers something extra sometimes it's like revisiting a piece of history you know they are almost like it means the final pieces down there it's really exciting the florida keys are a major destination for divers and the artificial reefs are a big draw and this is where Ladd Atkins heads a group studying their environmental impact Guerry's Mace Races one of the many dive businesses in Key Largo, Florida Spiegel Grove has really been a great official reef for us it brings a lot of excitement and adventure to new divers divers wanting to see something new in the Florida Keys divers might love it r shipwrecks but critics question how fish populations and natural reefs affect the environment the Spiegel Grove is part of a long-term study on the impact of artificial reefs Ladd Atkins is a special projects manager for the foundation of reef environmental education the Spiegel Grove is in a very unique position, it is on a sandy bottom area away from the reef but somewhat close, say within a quarter mile of the nearby natural reef areas and I think the int The goal was to place it far enough away that even if it moved a bit it wouldn't damage the natural reef, but also close enough that there could be an interaction between the marine life on the natural reef system and on the wreck itself and myself. i think we are seeing a lot of wyndi wellington is living up to its moniker with only three days to go for a slump day on saturday the weather forecast is for gale force winds for three days and counting and i hope these winds this morning are an indication that the front is coming in now and won't be in by saturday morning but we wouldn't be sailing today would any household believe more today that's better there's a lot of work to be done the lubricating oils are long gone from the engine room but there's still build up 37 years of dirt and grime to clean up so use the oversized pressure washer and dump all loose material into the bilges or a vacuum pump truck can suck it up. shers large vacuum cleaners need to remove all debris left in cracks and crevices 150 meters of rope floats an electrical cable fire line is hoisted on board unsynchronized day to connect explosives on ship with crew on the fire ship pushing the button the crew is working full steam ahead but the deadline is fast approaching right now we are probably trying to fit a week's work into two days but we'll make it but we'll work a little more than between you and me, we need another week to really get this up and running 100%.
I would feel much better than trying to sink on Saturday, but you know there is a lot to do and you want this to be a really good reef. so i don't know we'll make it work somehow we'll make it all work three days till sink day roy gabriel has been working flat out for amonth and a second set of experienced knives would be welcome those eyes belong Jay Strait one of Roy's partners just arrived from Canada and has some concerns see this it's just too lightly built to take the kind of beating which he will receive when the ship sinks and what I am afraid is that it will come straight out of this mouth. hanging here in the divers space or it's deteriorating relatively quickly.
I'm going to ask them to get a team here to hit these things, which is actually not hard to do, probably the kickboxer can do it and at least give us a chance. properly ventilating the place they have removed tons of material from the boat and it is now rising higher in the water making it too unstable to tow to the sink site to lower it they add weight ballast by flooding some of the compartments in the boat with water but the flood is not going to plan we are putting water in some tanks and within a day we are losing 10-12 tons of water so it is flowing somewhere figuring out where the water is going and fixing it is crucial the danger is this when the ship starts to s ink and if one tank is empty that will add a lot of lift to that side if the empty tank was on the starboard side and the ship develops a list to port as it sinks the empty tank will emphasize that list ycould cause the ship to capsize on its side is a stability and safety issue tons of water in a compartment where it could move unexpectedly is a hazard a hazard that has dumped to other ships what we need to do is take plan pull all tanks upper market is full or market is empty then work from there we have to try to solve this problem we have the data seoul not proceeding with the injury and I've gone to the boiler room so obviously going into an empty tank somewhere yeah so we'll just pull this lid off here and take a look they found where the water was going and have a plan to keep the balance or the way the boat is balanced the way they wanted issues we were having in an hour ago i think we've found some fixes for them and right now we're just pumping some tanks here we're going to drop the stern to the boat a bit one problem solved but the tank covers back and closes the vents with a wooden bone once again Windy Wellington lives up to his nickname only two days to go until the day of the sinking So the weather isn't cooperating, we've got a diesel-zippered Wellington Zayats floor that he's basically pulling out, but will this ship be clean enough to sink?
There are hundreds of meters of pipelines that carry hydraulic oil pipes. they weren't and with the trim of the boat upset some residual oil starting to seep in bad news with critical environmental inspection coming up no oil means a clean boat as long as we get these drained we'll be good in the running to get the boat ready for sinking day saturday is heating up there are only two days left and the environmental and safety inspection is underway the stakes are high if the inspectors don't give their ok the ship doesn't sink on time inspector patrick average we are looking for any anything that the scooters might break when the ship sinks anything that could be a hazard to divers and of course any contaminants, the main one being any oil residue that settles on it the ship hasn't finished all the work on it cleanup and inspectors will have to come back tomorrow to check, but to stay on schedule, Roy Gabriel needs to install the explosives ivos, we have good news, bad news, what do you think looks pretty good? reasonably well I have clearance to start installing exhibits tomorrow morning yes thank you very much thank you room I don't think thank you very much it has taken weeks to plan and assemble the explosives that will sink this ship now is the time to install it will take 14 one meter square holes are drilled through the side of the ship to the sinking and each of these 14 explosive charges have been built to fit exactly against the current hull, are brought to the bottom of the ship and set into place, ok that will stay there for the flex linear explosive to work effectively it needs to be an exact distance from the steel when the engine room boiler room goes on to start these charges would jump right off the ship because there is so much wave of shock and twist going through the ship as it shoots all this wood basically just lets you know if the chip is blown if the load is secure in place and the c detonating ordinance to the primers is ready to connect to the system we are just above charges 5 and 6 here we have already set explosives so we closed the area no one can enter unfortunately we have less than 30 hours left so we have to continue here the 14 charges explosives are positioned against the hull just below the waterline at key points on the ship charges are fired in pairs port side starboard side not fired all at once placed in a carefully planned sequence over several seconds normally engine charges and from the boiler room are fired first followed by the others this firing sequence controls which part of the ship floods first and controls how the ship will sink there isn't much time left the last scrap is being hauled off the dock there is another explosive i'm aboard you of the F 69 there will be a large pyrotechnic display as part of the sinking and the pyrotechnics team is busy assembling and installing When all the mortars and shells and things will go off that will add a dramatic touch to the event the high explosives that will actually sink the ship don't make much of a show they are below the waterline so what are these fireworks the spectators will see ok we are ready to go with the charges in place the next critical job is to connect the detonating core to the explosives In the hull of the ship ok hold a second detonating cord there is a thin flexible tube with an explosive core.
John explodes at almost 7,000 kilometers per second. He agreed to high velocity feeds and connected the electrically activated detonator with the high explosive cutting charges. which are now installed it is the last crucial link between pressing the button and the charges being fired, installing the detonators is the next step, first run the electrical wire that will connect connected to the firing canister, check the connection and then hook the detonators, this style of detonator is programmable so you can change when a particular explosive charge will go off, six years of fundraising planning and over 90,000 entries in a contest to see who will push the button to sink the ship is supposed to end with a bang on saturday but this is windy wellington and the wind is around 40 knots it's saturday november 12th we've had a 24 hour build on hold to the wind conditions it's just not acceptable for trying to safely deploy the boat basically our winds are heading 30 to 40 knots we have a requirement on our insurance not to move It's over 20 knots but it stays pretty close to the water as you know there's the anguish of holding out another day you're gone but you know we'll get there anyway but Sam should note I knew it was going to be stressful at some point moment and i guess we're here just for posterity's sake looking good 6 am. m.
November 13 24 hours late the wind has dropped enough and it's already a beautiful day we have a bit of a breeze we're going to be a crowded coast that's for sure the giver ship on the Marino is around here they will be gone and all the marinas will be empty and it's going to be a great day. I'm looking forward to the time of the last outing, yes, significant moment, okay, yes, we're on our way, I see the whole stream of water six years. the lanes today a final salute from the guns on shore the wind was looking a bit iffy first thing in the morning and we can keep this ship upwind that's fine for our purposes we are at the top end of our safety envelope with this is windy but we can proceed intentionally the sinking of a warship is not an everyday event and there has been great anticipation for this it is still early and the spectators are already gathering for the display it will take almost two hours to reach the sinking site there time for breakfast The sinking site of F 69 is in Island Bay, just around the headland from Wellington Harbour.
We have just turned around to drop anchor in the naka and we will be grateful if the attempt fails while we prepare the ship. It sounds simple. put the boat in the bow position upwind and drop the seven ton anchor while the tugs hold the boat in place but once again this anchor is not cooperating we have been very cautious we have made a lot of weight we did a 7-ton anchor pulling probably another seven or eight tons of chain and is quite capable of biting your fingers very fast there were problems getting the anchor into the show and now there are problems getting it off the boat the 24 hour weather delay and now this delay is causing problems the big tugs holding the ship in position have to go have other jobs to go to how the ship is sitting in the water how it is trimmed determines the order of the explosions that will sink the ship we changed the firing sequence ce from yesterday to today we've changed it once already, I think I'm happy with that, but until you quote around 100 meters missing the side of the ship, I won't know for sure, very well could change it back binary the problem saw the behavior come on we had a snake it was the shekel initially had to get that took us an extra two hours but in health we are better than losing fingers and toes so please replace my now gold butterflies the ship is at anchor due to the wind and the tugs released from the ship will still need to be towed into their final position to sink but without the big tugs we will start at the bow and start working all the way. way to the stern checking and double checking everything put the detonators in the system it will be 28 detonators to install all the way to the stern the boat is getting more and more dangerous there are holes everywhere and to complicate things the waves are getting bigger making it the ship rolls out the pyrotechnics The crew comes aboard for their last-minute preparations.
Pen check. Double check if the ship should sink in her position and be upright. just double check to make sure somehow over the last day none of the det cords have been molded or cut and if so we'll just put an extra part on it the F 69 is a tanker and the onlookers are flocking , but the boat has a small list towards the port that must be fixed; otherwise the ship could tip over on its side as she sinks. pretty much there's still to Rory there's ready water being pumped to port in one of the tanks to trim and rebalance the ship the job connecting the detonators to the 14 explosive charges is almost complete okay I'll go out and have a quick look see how they are doing it is a very tech good job Dandan wait they are adding tons of water to this tape to remove the list do that for 100% of this class the ship is very fragile in the bow area , so what we're going to do is try to make it as flat as possible. sink as we can and if anything it will be a stern sink slightly how the ship will sink depends on the time of the explosive charges and these times can be programmed into the system and changed up to the last minute.
Check and double check that Jenny is ready. all you need to do is run out the trip wire, plug it in, and hit the button when the wind blows. It would be better to sink the ship by shaking first. He really wants to change the firing sequence of the charges one more time. so she backtracks to those and put seven thousand here and then the next one and then give us the longest there. I know it's not a big change let's take a look again so check this out in this swell I don't want the website to start pulling water before the starboard side yeah in a perfect world it goes both ways it will start to draw water at the same time and then it will be finished, how does it happen?
I think this is the last change. The crowds are gathering by 3 p.m. sinking the f 69 was bow anchored in the wind and now has to be towed to its final position but as the big tugs are no longer available they have to rely on smaller boats how the boats will never handle it go fast these small boats are pulling a 3000 ton warship against a wind now pushing at 30 knots and picking up even with no wind this job would have been challenging for small boats the ship is moving slowly but the wind is still picking up look at a meter of tension in this when detonate we are at eight nine right now we are at five and six and climbing we get out 50 meters of this we will be lucky and your wind chamber this is this is not good this was not supposed to happen against wind andtide the little ships have pulled the ship and now they have to hold against that rising wind but they are very close to the ship and those 14 tall explosive charges can't fight the holders with that kind of power and be so close that they don't Robin I wouldn't have liked to c Certainly a little further than that, maybe they can lengthen the lines once they've stolen it for the trade. everyone basically has to go into the final hours.
We need to leave one in each corner to hold. we're having a hard time just keeping the boat in position the wind has now shifted our trip wire is going to be in a big big bowl we'll be lucky if we get to 50 meters or stern it's time to get everyone and everything off the boat with the wind increasing the waves they are getting bigger getting closer to the opening in the side of the boat if they want to control the sinking they need to put it on the bottom soon we are going to be late on this one it is critical no one is left on board ok are we doing it good?
Why am I doing this? use it it's fun Marco all the best i hope it's perfect timing absolutely perfect but this drift is bad yes that's right Colonel Arvin let's go well let's go guys let's beat beat beat out of here let's get out of here okay just come through here the lightning just want tell the thugs to shoot i hope it's perfect frame you really have a lot of blood sweat and tears i have about a meter of
freebars the waves are coming up to all those openings in the haul roads to tell the fire crew to push the bucket now take off your I'm calling you on the answering machine The countdown is here but you have to flip the burst one minute yes not the minute congratulations over 90,000 people entered the contest to see who would push the button Joe Smith was the winner , the boiler room in the engine room went well cooperate now cooperate cooperate cooperate with me the big question is did they fix that port list s you can let it go you can let it go the line of fire attention is being built come back come back with ship ready for port the next few seconds will be crucial dropping water it will come back it will come back it will come back it will come back at the last second the F 69 will level out it will come back not sure what was this thing but she kind of freaked us out she took a pretty good pork list the extra work we did today getting that list out paid off she had a little more of what we call reserve buoyancy in the stern, so it held longer back there than I would have had otherwise and that was long enough to fully hook those side casts and she went down the way I wanted I got birth or stern sag just slightly stern sag the bow It was the last thing that has to be like this and that's what you can't ask for much more.
I don't think it was a perfect à la carte sink and I think I found it We paddle very, very, you know, straight into the water and one or two degrees if there's anything that could be a little bit of support maybe one two three the big support which is more than acceptable okay let's go home and get ready for face another baby oh i need a beer as old as good the F 69 the Wellington now deep down it might have just been scrap turned into razor blades cans but a ship is so much more than tons of steel , a ship like the Wellington. she has history embedded in her skin, so she now she can live to give back to the seas she once sailed.
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