Tag Archive | Navy salvage diver

Inside the Helge Ingstad

Many naval shipwrecks are in deep water or in mud so nasty that even if in shallower depths, have visibility of about nil. Not so with the recently lost Helge Ingstad, which for now at least, is in the shallows of a crystal clear fjord in Norway at depths that enable small surface ROVs and scuba-equipped salvage work.

For those under a rock for the past month, HNoMS Helge Ingstad is a Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate of the Royal Norwegian Navy. On 8 November 2018, the frigate collided with the tanker Sola TS in Norwegian waters, was severely damaged in the collision and beached:

The cables didn’t hold and she slipped down the ledge where she rests today.

The Norwegian Navy this week released two videos from the wreck. One of them piloting the Blueye Pioneer underwater drone inside her hull, and another recovering Naval Strike Missile (NSM) launch canisters from her topside.

The NSM is a 13-foot-long, 900-pound anti-ship missile produced by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and it is being shopped by Raytheon in the U.S. to replace Harpoon on frigates and LCS vessels. The range is 100+ nm and it is optimized for use in so-called green or blue water. Nansen-class frigates tote eight of these. More on the NSM here.

Of note, Blueye is also a Norwegian company. More on the ROV, which only runs like $6K, here.

Of an Iron man, a Pearl Harbor, and a copper helmet

Too often we forget that the biggest part of the battle at Pearl Harbor came after the Japanese were sailing away.

By 0915 on 7 December, Navy divers and salvage teams were hard at work.

Throughout 1942 and part of 1943, Navy divers worked on salvaging destroyers, supply ships, and other badly damaged vessels. The divers faced extraordinary dangers: poisonous gas, unexploded ordnance, as well as the unknown of the destruction that awaited them below. Through the course of the Pearl Harbor effort, Navy divers spent approximately 16,000 hours underwater, during 4,000 dives.

It appears that possibly the last of these iron men has stepped up for his last dive. U.S. Navy salvage diver Ken Hartle passed away at age 103 last week.

In this photo taken during World War II, Navy salvage diver Ken Hartle is seen getting into his deep see dress diving outfit, which weighed more than 216 pounds with the spun copper helmet. (Credit: Hartle family via San Diego Trib)

In this photo taken during World War II, Navy salvage diver Ken Hartle is seen getting into his deep see dress diving outfit, which weighed more than 216 pounds with the spun copper helmet. (Credit: Hartle family via San Diego Trib)

As reported by the San Diego Tribune:

David Ball, an officer with the national Navy Divers Association, said he’s pretty certain that Hartle was the oldest Navy diver from the Pearl Harbor salvage era. The World War II salvage divers held regular reunions for many years, but as more and more passed away, the gatherings stopped. At this point, the oldest divers in the association are in their 90s, said Ball, a San Diego resident.

Hartle passed away Tuesday afternoon at the Vista Del Lago memory care center in Escondido.

More on this incredible man’s story, here

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