P T Wycliffe-Jones, BA. This paper was first published in GE’s May 1975 edition.
When the 458ft (140m) long freighter Sidney E. Smith sank in the main navigation channel of the St. Clair River off Port Huron after collision with another vessel on June 5, 1972, it was not realised at the time that the ensuing wreck removal and salvage operations would prove to be a unique example of specialised civil engineering techniques and equipment used in conjunction with more normal marine salvage methods. The combination solved a problem that at first sight appeared of considerable magnitude both in time and cost. In fact, from the time the US Army Corps of Engineers became involved in the salvage operation, only a little over five weeks elapsed before the sections of the vessel started to be pulled clear of the shipping channel.