In February of 1999, the New Carissa ran aground on the North Spit near Coos Bay, Oregon. She broke apart and defied many attempts to remove her from the beach. There are several sites that provide information on what happened during those months. One with an extensive timeline and discussion of the legal cases brought is an Oregon site, another is on Wikipedia.
The Removal of the New Carissa
The purpose of this site is to share photos of the removal of the stern of the New Carissa in 2008. The Titan Salvage Company undertook this job, which was paid for by an insurance settlement. Many Coos Bay residents would have preferred that the ship remain. After 10 years she was part of the landscape and a bit of a tourist attraction, but the state wanted her removed. The Titan crew came to Coos Bay in March to begin preparations for the salvage.
A local resident, Gene LaRochelle, saw the activity in Coos Bay as the crew prepared the barges for the salvage job. An avid photographer, Gene started taking photos of what they were doing and, lucky for those of us who were privileged to receive his emails, he stayed with the project from start to finish, chronicling what became one of the most interesting endeavors of all time in this area. Over the course of the 6 months that the salvage operation was underway, Gene took thousands of photos and also some videos which he posted on You Tube.
With his kind permission, I have put together this site to post some of the many photos he took. His emails included an ongoing narrative of what he and his friend, Ron, observed. Gene was privileged to become friends with David Parrot, the head of the Titan crew that was based here. Gene was able to go out to the barges and take photographs a number of times and he also took some seaplane rides where he was able to get some wonderful shots. He did this all for the love of the New Carissa, his interest in photography, and his deep and abiding respect for, as he calls them, "The Men of Titan".
The New Carissa shortly after she ran aground.
Now in 2 pieces with the stern in the lower right
Burning her fuel
caused her to
break in two
They towed the bow out to sea to sink it but it broke free from the tug during a storm and grounded again in Waldport. The joke around here was, "The New Carissa - coming to a beach near you."
It took a Navy torpedo to finally sink her on 3/11/99 but the stern remained on the Beach in Coos Bay.
What remained of the wreck before the Men of Titan arrived. It's bigger than it looked in this photo.
One of the two barges, Karlissa A and Karlissa B, on its way to Empire and eventually the New Carissa.
They started preparations in March, but it was June before they finally got the barges out to the wreck and started cutting.
The first barge arrives and gets jacked up in preparation to start work. It was several more days until the second barge joined it.
The first cut was made on Father's Day - June 15th, 2008.
The "Men of Titan" were amazing. This is steep, but it will get much steeper before they are done.
The orange spot is graffiti but just above that is a section that is being hoisted onto the barge.
Gene referred to this as removing the face. He shows it cut away from the wreck as they were beginning to hoist it in the inset.
Gene used his editing techniques to add David Parrot, the boss, watching over the whole operation. The tug, Skookum is in the background, the helicopter they used is in the photo as are the two barges with their huge cranes and the wreck is intact. I understand David wasn't that fond of this photo but I like it a lot.
David Parrot was the force behind Titan. I was sorry to learn of his passing on Sept. 16, 2010
The Karlissa B has arrived and is being jacked into position.
Once they got the tram set up, they didn't need the helicopter to transport people and supplies.
The wreck is starting to disappear.
July 7th - Summers here tend to be very windy. The breezes are out of the north and it can be downright chilly. There were many days when waves crashed against the barges and the wreck and the men got soaked. You'll see more as you continue to look at the photos.
July 15th - the water line is getting closer
On July 16th, Gene and Ron got a chance to fly over the wreck in a seaplane. Gene did this at least one other time, maybe two - I'm not sure. He got some wonderful shots this way.
The tug, "Skookum" is pulling the barge used to offload the scrap which will be taken to Empire until it is sold for scrap iron.
July 19th - a big piece comes off.
The stern with "NE" of New on July 1st The last of the stern with the name is removed - July 19th or 20th
Heavy surf on July 21st
See the hard hat in the circle? He got wet.
July 29th - Starting to roll her.
See the tall ship on the horizon to the right of the post? Every summer several tall ships visit Coos Bay. This summer the Lady Washington and the HMS Bounty both came to visit. There was another one as well but I don't remember the name. I don't know which one this is but it was just by accident Gene caught it with his camera.
Even as night falls the work goes on. Here they continue to pump sand and water out of the submerged ship as the pullers keep tugging her out of the sand.
24 hours later
Another plane ride on August 6th
Working at a 60 degree angle
There it goes!
First view of propeller
The scrap begins to pile up in Empire. When the removal is complete, this will be cut up and hauled away to Eugene. The Titan Salvage Co. will make additional money from the sale of the scrap metal, but they will leave the propeller for the city to display, probably at the Maritime Museum in North Bend.
Even though much of the ship is gone, half of it is still under water.
This guy is getting wet.
Another view of the prop
One blade is as tall as a man.
Summer winds bring big waves
Getting ready to remove the engine
Offloading more scrap
First piece of engine is hoisted to the barge
That is one big engine!
Sizing up the crank shaft
Posing in front of and on the engine for a photo op.
The last of the crank shaft comes out
September 16th - getting near the end
Working on getting the prop out
They are hoisting the prop on the extreme left edge of the barge. The prop is now at the Coos County History Museum on the Bay.
And there she is...
But they're not done yet
September 20th - There's not much left.
Prop versus man
September 22nd - The final piece comes out.
A diver goes down to clean up the ocean bottom
September 23rd - Only the two barges remain
September 29th or 30th And then there was one...
And now there are none.
The straight line on the left is from where they dragged the tram cables in.
"Well Gene, you have stayed through this from the beginning to very nearly the end. You have demonstrated as much or even more patience than Titan has, as we will have been paid for our perseverance and you have not had the same incentive. While I can say with certainty that financial incentives have not been your motive I can say with equal certainty they have not been our sole motive. The men doing what you have shown here so diligently, day in and day out over the last months, do not do this only for the money. There are far easier tasks where if they were to apply the same level of skill and tenacity they could earn more than they do here, but there is something about the work they do, with the associated risks, that only a few thrive on and we have been sufficiently fortunate to have surrounded ourselves with a goodly number of the few."
June Willoughby, the Web Page Builder
If you enjoyed the photos on this site, perhaps you would enjoy seeing