COOS BAY &

Crews have begun the process of removing the now fabled shipwreck, the New Carissa, that's been anchored near Coos Bay for more than nine years.




And coastal residents have a front-row seat for the whole process, though many of them say the New Carissa is now such a fixture that it should be left in place.




Titan Salvage of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has been tasked with hacking the New Carissa into pieces. Crews started the job at a Coos Bay dock, where they'll overhaul machinery and assemble the six giant legs that will propel each barge above the surf that now pounds away at the rusting stern of the New Carissa.




After they are assembled in port, the legs will be positioned on the 170-feet-long Karlissa A and Karlissa B barges and moved to the ship, where the legs will be plunged 30 feet into the sand, lifting the platforms out of the water so that crews can safely cut apart the nearby ship.




One challenge will be getting the barges to the New Carissa in one piece, said Phil Reed, Titan's director of engineering, which will require cooperation from the weather, with swells of three feet or less.




Then Titan will build a staging area on the beach and a Tele-pherique, an aerial tramway, to ferry workers to and from the platforms and shore.




After that, six hydraulic "pullers" will yank the ship out of the sand, bit by bit, and cut it apart.




Whether the New Carissa will budge remains to be seen, however. The wreck is now buried 40 feet in the sand &

20 percent submerged.




The stern is estimated to weigh 1,200 tons, which should be no problem, since each of the six hydraulic pullers can yank 300 tons.




But there's no way to know how much sand fills the ship




s hull, adding more dead weight to that initial figure of 1,200 tons.




If the plans don't work, Titan will have to resort to cutting the ship off at the sand line and leaving what




s mired in the sand where it is. That's actually a more difficult task than a successful lift-and-cut, because it will mean working in the breaking surf.




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Information from: The Register-Guard, http:www.registerguard.com