Saturday, March 26, 2005
Salvage crews on Thursday freed a grounded sailing ship that became stuck earlier this week while entering Channel Islands Harbor in stormy seas. Beachgoers cheered as the crew tugged the San Pedro-based Irving Johnson out of the sand bar. "The boat is free," said Chris Grisafe, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard. "She's seaworthy for the immediate purposes." Salvage crew members were inspecting the boat to assess the damage, he said. Teams emptied the water and dug a temporary berm on the shore side of the boat so that waves breaking on the beach would instead bounce back and push the boat to sea. Salvagers planned to tug the boat five miles to Ventura Harbor, Grisafe said. Twenty passengers and crew members were aboard the 90-foot brigantine when it hit the sandbar Monday. They were rescued after they fell or jumped into the chilly waters. Three of them were treated for hypothermia.