Salvage incidents round-up

Wagenborg Towage has salvaged a port crane in Wilhelmshaven (Hero Lang - Wagenborg Towage has salvaged a port crane in Wilhelmshaven (Hero Lang -

It may be major ship casualties that grab mainstream media headlines, but other salvage jobs can also be newsworthy, we take a look at three representative salvage operations from recent weeks.

When the 89m long general cargo ship Priscilla ran aground on the Pentland Skerries off northeast Scotland initial surveys indicated no significant damage or pollution. A local lifeboat, two tugs and the MCA ETV Ievoli Black attended the scene but initial attempts to refloat the vessel were unsuccessful.

Discussions between the vessel’s owners, insurers and salvors followed and two days later a consortium comprising Multraship, Ardent and Wagenborg was appointed to refloat the vessel with a temporary exclusion zone and an onshore Salvage Control Unit also established.

A fleet of craft including tugs, barges and Priscilla’s sister-ship were assembled and over the following days around 1,350t of the stranded vessel’s fertiliser cargo was removed. A week after grounding the vessel was safely refloated and following an underwater diving inspection was towed to Scapa Flow.

Staying in Europe and with Wagenborg, the Dutch multi-disciplinary company recently successfully salvaged a port crane in Wilhelmshaven after it had been damaged in a storm. The 100m barge Wagenborg Barge 8 and workboat Waterpell were deployed for the task, the latter equipped with two 200t capacity crawler cranes. Along with other heavy equipment and diving services the crane was successfully recovered onto the barge.

Moving now across the Atlantic, Resolve Marine Group has successfully recovered the derrick barge DB1 after it sunk around 30 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico in 2017. Bad weather caused it to drag its anchors and allide with an offshore platform breaching several compartments.

It was reported that several options were considered including cutting the barges into pieces, but the favoured method involved a one-piece lift employing Resolve’s patented heave-compensated chain puller lift system deployed from the derrick barge Conquest MB1 along with another barge, associated equipment, support vessels and a 40-person strong team of salvage experts and divers.

In what was reported as the heaviest salvage lift ever accomplished in the Americas, DB1 was lifted onto the semi-submersible barge Boabarge 29 which was submerged close to the wreck. The barge was then de-ballasted with DB1 safely on board for towage to Brownsville, Texas for dismantling.

By Peter Barker

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