Friday, April 15, 2016

RAISING THE PHOENIX 8:Go or no go? Up to you!

September 5, 2016
Dear Phoenix Friends,
Sorry for the long silence. After three dives on and after July 27, diver Rick Bishop of Bishop Diving and Salvage determined that 80% of the Phoenix is in very good shape, 20% (bow area) in terrible shape.

He has invested a lot of time determining the best way to raise the ship and the cheapest options for storing her afterwards for a 5-day "drying-out period." (Experts say if she isn't dried out properly she will "explode.")

The estimate of charges came in a week ago but it is $77,000, about three times what we had anticipated--and there is no absolute guarantee the ship can be brought up in one piece.

1. Diving charges for removal of mud inside the vessel and placement of slings under vessel: $24,000.00 (2 days to pump out the mud, 2 days to place straps beneath the front and back of vessel, 1 day of raising the Phoenix with pumps to pump the water out as she's being brought up)

2. Barge and 50-ton crane including mobilization and de-mobilization, delivery of vessel to drying-out facility, storage of vessel and placement of vessel on a truck for transport. $53,000.00 (1 day to bring her up, 5 days storage before trucking her to Port Townsend, WA for restoration)

From Brian Cowden, who has been in close touch with Bishop Diving and Salvage: "Rick made it clear the above are rough figures, but totally ballpark...there could be some additional expenses like some 'unknown' -- he made it clear that if all goes well and not all the divers days are needed, then this will be deducted -- he also was clear that there could be unknowns which could require more time...he wanted to be upfront and have this out there --

"As discussed before; the mud being pumped out will be scheduled far enough in advance so that if (worse case scenario) irreparable damage is discovered, then the salvage operation ends --

"Rick is confident the raising can take place in 1 day: the Phoenix is a sieve and not in that deep water -- he wants to remind everyone that the boat could come apart while being raised but doesn't believe this will happen -- this is one of the unknowns --

"The Phoenix will be raised out of the water, set on the deck of the crane and then be moved -- "

Speaking for myself, I am stunned, immobilized and discouraged. None of us know what to do next. If anything is going to be done, it must be done soon, as the Phoenix is continuing to deteriorate daily.

But in fact, we really can't do anything unless and until we are officially non-profit. We were able to pay for the diving, thanks to some donations from people willing not to receive tax deductions for them and to Naomi's savings. We are holding a $25,000 check and some smaller donations awaiting our ability to provide tax-deductible receipts. That's it.

Owner Naomi has been working hard with a lawyer who is giving his time pro bono to get the Phoenix of Hiroshima Project registered as
501(c)(3) so donations will be tax-deductible.  Six of the seven board members recommended are in place and all the forms ready to sign, as far as I can tell..

But Naomi, like the rest of the family, says she is feeling overwhelmed and confused, like "a deer in the headlights." She adds, "
Plus, it turns out to be unreasonable and practically unworkable to have three Reynoldses on the board, anyway. So, I am quitting. If you folks want to keep on trying to figure this out, then please do. If there is ever a viable entity to sign the Phoenix over to, I will do so. (Consider this a letter of intent.)"

Help! (IT'S ME, PIGLET, HELP HELP!) Any comments or suggestions? Any rich knights on white horses (or in white sailboats?)

Wishing each of you God's very best, a little anxiously,
Jessica Reynolds Renshaw
Cabin Girl, Phoenix of Hiroshima, 1954-64

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