Divers have taken to the harbour waters to assess how a floating café which mysteriously sank overnight can be retrieved.
A “catastrophic failure” caused Greenshank and a neighbouring barge attached to it to plunge into the water in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Luke Dunstan of Bristol Packet, which owns the historic boat, said yesterday that the company had launched an investigation to determine the exact cause of the fault.
Today (June 16), Caerphilly-based Edwards Diving Services (EDS) carried out a 30-minute survey of the two vessels moored near SS Great Britain to assess the damage, as a crowd of onlookers watched on.
Marcus Corderoy, diving supervisor for EDS, told Bristol Live the positioning of the two boats could make the retrieval process slightly challenging.
“The two vessels are both on the riverbed but they’re leaning into each other, which could make the process a little difficult,” he said.
“We’ll get them up without doubt but it’s just a case of working out how to do that as safely as possible and in the right manner.”
EDS and Portishead-based Advance Marine, which will also be part of the retrieval process, are now in talks with Bristol Packet directors Luke and Keith Dunstan about how best to lift the vessels from the harbour.
The retrieval job is expected to take place sometime next week or the week after, but an exact date is not yet known.
“We’ve had a look around the vessels to establish there are no other obstructions which would make it harder when it comes to lifting them out,” added Marcus.
“We discovered that we’ll need to cut them apart so we can lift them up one at a time.”
The other boats in Bristol Packet’s fleet, including Tower Belle, Bagheera and Redshank, have remained unscathed despite being close to Greenshank – which Luke described a “saving grace”.
It is still not known why the floating café, which opened to the public in 2017 following an extensive refurbishment from Bristol Packet, descended beneath the surface of the water.
“We’ve still got no idea how it happened and we don’t know which boat pulled the other down,” added Marcus. “There’s no indication of any damage just yet.
“Once we get them both to the surface we’ll be able to establish what happened in more detail.”
EDS was also tasked with retrieving the Roehampton boat, which sank in its mooring near the Mud Dock café following a gas explosion in August 2017.