Six miles west of Port Angeles the Diamond Knot, property of the U.S. Maritime Commission and under charter to the Alaska Steamship company, collided with the Freighter Fenn Victory at 1:15am on August 13, 1947.
The Fenn Victory’s bow drove a full 14 feet into the side of the Diamond Knot, mortally wounding the proud ship. In her hold were more than 154,000 cases of canned salmon, representing 10 percent of the year’s catch. Her cargo was valued at over $4 million.
With the main deck of the Diamond Knot awash, the Fenn Victory separated herself, making way to port under her own power. Tugs moved in and attempted to tow the Diamond Knot to the sheltered waters of Crescent Bay until violent currents flowing off the tongue of Point Reef forced the tugs to chop their towing hawsers at 8:15am. The Diamond Knot’s fate seemed sealed.
There was no time to waste as any significant delay would result in the loss of her valuable cargo. An equipment barge rushed to the wreck’s position while a mother barge anchored herself over the Diamond Knot and using an innovative water vacuum, proceeded to salvage the cargo. Divers worked in shifts to cut away about 90 percent of the Diamond Knot’s port side. Hour by hour, and can by can barges carried away the salvaged Diamond Knot cargo. The cans were then hauled down to Seattle, where each and every one of the cans was reopened and checked for saltwater intrusion, then repackaged and sent back out to market.
More than 75 percent of the cargo was salvaged from the ship. If Firemen’s Fund was unable to salvage the cargo, they would have gone under like the ship.
Why is this relevant to Diamond Knot’s story? Well, Bob and Brian loved to dive and they loved the story of the Diamond Knot salvage. In 1994, not many people were drinking Northwest IPAs. Bob and Brian knew that if they persevered like the DK salvage crew, they might just make a go of this whole brewing thing. They went slowly and methodically. They educated beer drinkers about IPAs and craft beer in general. Like Fireman’s Fund, Diamond Knot Craft Brewing made it through some tough times and are here today, better than ever. From two Boeing employees to more than 120 DK employees, cheers to you, Diamond Knot Craft Brewing crew!