I may be late to the party here, but you MUST read the amazingly cool story of Titan Salvage from Wired. The story is about the Cougar Ace, bound for the US with nearly 5000 Mazdas on board (at a value of more than $100 million) started listing to port while attempting to purge the ship’s ballast tanks. Titan Salvage was called in to try and rescue the ship and cargo, and they do it their way:
Titan’s business plan hinged on the idea that ships could be saved by human ingenuity, not horsepower, and the company’s unconventional approach worked.
Here’s one of their saves:
In 1992, a freighter sank alongside a dock in Dunkirk, France. Again, the Dutch called for cranes, but Titan won the contract by proposing a novel approach: It hired a naval architect to create a computer model of the ship. The model indicated that the vessel would float again if water was pumped out of the holds in a specific sequence. Titan put the plan into action using a few crates of relatively inexpensive pumps; the ship bobbed to the surface as if by magic.