Squishnut up for sale, cheap!

The Navy was already experienced in marine salvage prior to World War II. However, the service did not have ships specifically designed and built for salvage work when it entered WWII, and it was not until the start of the war that salvage ships become a distinct vessel type.

Then came the purpose-built Diver-class.

The U.S. Navy rescue and salvage ship USS Shackle (ARS-9), circa in 1945. She witnessed the torpedoing of the famed battlewagon Pennsylvania (BB-38) at Buckner Bay in August 1945 and immediately commenced salvage work on the damaged battleship, part of earning three battlestars in WWII. (Lt. Kirk Fistick, U.S. Navy – U.S. Navy photo.)

Built at Basalt Rock Co., Napa, Calif. — a gravel company that was in the barge building biz– 17 of the new 213-foot vessels were constructed during WWII. Fitted with a 20-ton capacity boom forward and 10-ton capacity booms aft, they had automatic towing machines, two fixed fire pumps rated at 1,000 gallons per minute, four portable fire pumps, and eight sets of “beach gear,” pre-rigged anchors, chains, and cables for use in refloating grounded vessels. And of course, they were excellently equipped to support divers in the water with one double re-compression chamber and two complete diving stations aft for air diving and two 35-foot workboats.

They had a surprisingly long life and, even though they almost all left U.S. Navy service fairly rapidly in the 1970s, several gained a second career. Two went to South Korea where one, ex- USS Grapple (ARS-7) is still active as ROCS Da Hu (ARS-552) in Taiwan and another, ex-USS Safeguard (ARS-25), went to Turkey. The latter is supposedly still active as TCG Isin (A-589) though her replacement is nearing.

Three, Escape (ARS-6), Seize (ARS-26) and USS Shackle (ARS-9) went to the Coast Guard as USCGC Escape (WMEC-6)USCGC Yocona (WMEC-168), and USCGC Acushnet (WMEC-167) respectively.

USCGC Acushnet (WMEC-167), ex-USS Shackle (ARS-9) arriving at Kodiak, AK, 26 August 2008.
Photo courtesy Marine Exchange Alaska. Via Navsource

Escape was sold for scrap in 2009, Seize/Yocona was sunk as a target in 2006, and Shackle/Acushnet, decommissioned in 2011 as the last Diver-class vessel in U.S. service and the oldest vessel then in the Coast Guard. She was subsequently put up for sale for years in Anacortes, Washington with efforts afoot to save her in one form or another. 

Well, Shackle/Acushnet was eventually sold in 2018 to a non-profit group called Ocean Guardian, which intend to put her back to work as a research ship/museum/education vessel in conjunction with the National Maritime Law Enforcement Academy.



However, it seems like that fell through and the old Squishnut– as she was known while stationed in Mobile in the 1990s– is currently in the Seattle/Vancouver area and for sale. 

The listing, for posterity: 

*Reduced to $135,000(USD) Offers encouraged*

USA Registered. USCGC Acushnet was originally built as a U.S. Navy diver-class rescue and salvage ship, then served as a coast guard cutter for a long career. Always well maintained and substantially upgraded before her 2011 retirement.

All engines ready to fire up. Opportunity for hundreds of ocean related industrial uses such as FEMA response ship or world class patrol boat. Big commercial galley, walk in freezers, water makers, hospital, theater, 48 berths, 13 heads and showers, laundry, 2 deck cranes and two Zodiac Hurricanes with diesel outdrives for tender vessels.

Lots of extra tools and machinery included.

Photo dump from the listing: 

Would make a great liveaboard for less than the cost of your average three-bedroom ticky tacky house in the suburbs. 

Food for thought. 

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