Clearing old wrecks with Koole Mammoet Salvage

The RoRo vessel 'Sirena' broke in two following grounding (Photo: Koole Mammoet) The RoRo vessel 'Sirena' broke in two following grounding (Photo: Koole Mammoet)
Industry Database

Koole Mammoet Salvage has taken part in two wreck removal projects in the Caribbean, one involving a vessel that was stranded nearly 20 years ago.

The 70m long, 800 ton El Maud ran aground 100m offshore at Galisbay, Saint-Martin in the Caribbean during Hurricane Lenny in 1999. The wreck had deteriorated over the years and legal procedures by the local administrative authority related to the vessel’s ownership had to be completed before the local community could take steps to remove what was left of the vessel.

Koole Mammoet was appointed for the task which involved development of a detailed and organisational plan of how to remove the wreck, dispose of it in an environmentally safe manner, and to restore the seabed in the area. Work began in mid-October (2017) and is now reported to have been completed.

The second wreck removal also saw Koole Mammoet operating in the Caribbean following the grounding of the ro-ro cargo vessel Sirena on rocks on the small Dutch island of Sint Eustatius in the Leeward Islands in August 2017. Attempts to refloat the vessel at the time were unsuccessful and it subsequently broke into two pieces with local weather conditions reported to have deteriorated the condition of the ship considerably.

Recently, the International Salvage Union highlighted the increase in wreck removal operations globally, a trend partly driven by society’s increasing concern for the environment. Where in the past there was often little financial incentive to remove abandoned wrecks, environmental pressures now have a greater influence.

The Sirena ran aground at a sensitive and challenging spot in the National Marine Park, an area known not only for its beautiful coral reefs but also for extreme weather and sea conditions. The impetus to remove the wreck was therefore in place and after 60 days Koole Mammoet reported the final and safe removal of Sirena.

Vijfhuizen, the Netherlands-based Koole was founded in 1988, originally a demolition contractor operating in the industrial sector. Expansion both geographically and into other sectors including marine resulted later in its acquisition of Mammoet Salvage. The company operates under four divisions: salvage, construction, industrial and environmental.

By Peter Barker

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