Cable barge capsize
The ‘AMT Explorer’ cable barge capsized on 3 July off the coast of Sardinia losing all cargo including its reel carrying 2,800m of fibre optic cable valued at €28m.
Alessandro De Felice, chief risk officer for cable manufacturer Prysmian explained that the incident took place during a voyage under tow from Arco Felice in Italy to Bremenhaven in Germany. “The cable and rotating platform, which together weigh about 5,000 tonnes, were completely lost although barge itself remained floating upside down,” he explains. No crew were onboard the barge at the time.
Mr De Felice goes on to say there is no immediate evidence of hull damage and so the incident does look like the result of compromised stability, but he is clear that “the turntable is not implicated” in the capsize.
Smit coordinated the salvage operation: however despite the value of the cargo, Mr De Felice says: “It is not feasible to recover the cable from the sea bottom, the cost would be much higher than its scrap value, which is all it is worth now as after the accident it cannot be utilised.” He adds: “The loss will not heavily impact the company as Prysmian is fully insured against such incidents, and is covered for cargo, equipment and salvage operation.”
The 91m Explorer itself, owned by Augustea Anchor Marine Transportation, is presently at Piombino where it has undergone parbuckling procudures along with further investigations to corroborate its integrity. “However, we don’t anticipate any big issues,” says Mr De Felice.
Despite this the barge will not be put straight back to work on the same job as commissioning a new reel will take time: “The carousel was fitted with a particular set of contracts in mind, and though the Explorer may eventually be refitted it is not an immediate prospect: other vessels will be deployed instead.”
Further, although the cable destined to connect the 288MW Butendiek wind farm to the SylWin1 grid hub and the 210MW Deutsche Bucht wind farm to the BorWin Beta platform have been lost, “only one of these projects was immediate,” says Mr De Felice, adding: “We are talking through risk mitigation with our customer TenneT. Although these are very unusual incidents, we do have a very complete risk strategy in place so there may not even be a severe delay to the schedule.”
By Stevie Knight
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