Northeast Dive Equipment Group
Join us for a presentation on hardhat diving and the salvage of the M/V Diamond Knot by Fred Barthes. The presentation will include a full set of commercial dive gear (Hard Hat helmet), as well as various other pieces of equipment used in commercial diving. There will also be a demonstration on how a diver suits up in the hard hat and suit using a volunteer from those in attendance.
On August 13, 1947 the Diamond Knot was coming from Alaska’s Bristol Bay ports to Seattle carrying a cargo of 154,316 cases (7,407,168 cans) of Red, King, Chum, and Cohoe Salmon worth around $3,500,000. Also in the hold of the Diamond Knot were 50,000 gallons of herring oil, 155 barrels of salt fish, 33 tons of plunder, 33 tons of assorted cargo, an automobile and a fishing craft lashed to her deck.
Loaded to maximum, the Knot moved cautiously through the water and heavy fog.
Going outbound from Seattle, The Fenn Victory rode high in the water with only 200 tons of cargo. As the Victory came within 6 miles of Port Angeles at around 1:15 a.m. the Diamond Knot and the Fenn Victory collided. The Fenn Victory rammed her so hard, it became locked 14 feet into the Diamond Knot’s starboard side.
After several hours the two ships were separated. The Fenn Victory chugged on her own steam towards port while the doomed Diamond Knot with 23 feet of water in No. 3 hold, 20 feet in No. 2 hold and 10 feet in No. 1 hold went under tow, stern first, towards the protective waters off Crescent Bay. But the currents at the entrance of Crescent Bay are some of the strongest in the Strait, and this made the tugs already hard work near impossible. At 8:45 a.m. there was a noticeable jerk in the towline. She was sinking deeper. At 8:55 the towboat men were forced to cut the tow lines. The Diamond Knot was going down.
Within hours of her sinking, plans were already underway to salvage her cargo which lay 135ft under the surface. After 3 months and hundreds of hardhat dives using innovative new salvage techniques, much of her cargo was eventually brought to the surface, and sold.