Salvage round-up

'Northguider' was secured for the winter to be salvaged this summer  (Kystverket)
'Northguider' was secured for the winter to be salvaged this summer (Kystverket)
The fully-laden cement carrier was removed from the beach in one piece (Resolve Marine)
The fully-laden cement carrier was removed from the beach in one piece (Resolve Marine)

A snapshot of activity covering just a few months makes it clear there will always be work for the global salvage industry.

The year started with a collision between the pipe-laying vessel Star Centurion and a tanker north of Bintan Island, Indonesia. Smit and its Indonesian partners Samudera Mbiantu Sesami were initially contracted under Lloyd’s Open Form with tugs and salvage personnel soon arriving on scene. The pipe-layer subsequently capsized onto its port side and the priority changed to recovery of around 450t of fuel on board, a task accomplished in around one month without a spill. Smit continue to work on site providing a guard vessel and caretaking services in anticipation of a wreck removal.

Ardent Global was involved in a similar pollutant-removal operation after the fishing vessel Northguider grounded north of Svalbard in extreme conditions including temperatures of -40’. Permanent darkness and the threat from polar bears precluded a quick refloating attempt and the vessel was secured for the winter including the placing of remote monitoring equipment on board. With an eye to protecting nesting seabirds in spring a wreck removal operation is planned for this summer.

A ship grounding posing serious environmental risks previously reported in these columns (see the June 2019 Seawork edition of MJ) has been resolved with its refloating from a reef off Rennell island, part of the Solomon Islands. The 75,392dwt bulk carrier Solomon Trader grounded after dragging its anchor resulting in a quantity of oil being spilled from the vessel. US-based Resolve Marine was appointed to provide a response including transferring fuel oil between tanks on board along with dealing with pollutants that had already escaped. Around 230 of an estimated 600 tonnes of oil on board were removed from the vessel and after a wait for suitable tidal conditions the salvage team successfully refloated Solomon Trader. It is reported the vessel is expected to be scrapped.

Following the sinking of the roro/containership Grande America in the Bay of Biscay in March after a fire broke out among its cargo, Grimaldi Lines has suffered another similar incident involving a fire on board its vehicle carrier Grande Europa around 25 miles south of Palma de Mallorca in the Mediterranean. Part of the vessel’s crew were taken off the ship by helicopter with three vessels joining the response and after the fire was brought under control Salvamento Maritimo reported that the vessel was under tow of the emergency response vessel Marta Mata for Palma Bay. Another incident where the ship becomes victim to circumstances beyond its immediate area of influence perhaps.

Tsavliris Salvage has been providing assistance to the bunkering tanker A. Michel which reported a flooded engine room following the explosion of “a device” while at Fujairah Anchorage. A Lloyd’s Open Form salvage agreement (including SCOPIC) was signed with Tsavliris with the tanker reported to be listing and down by the stern.

Another successful salvage operation has been completed by Resolve Marine with the refloating of the cement carrier Raysut II from the pristine beaches of Al-Fazayah Beach, Salalah.

The grounding dates back to May 2018 when the partly loaded vessel lost headway and steerage after the port of Salalah was evacuated due to adverse weather conditions. The vessel’s stranding was reported to be “devastating” to the local tourist community, the 5km long landscape being home to five of the world’s seven species of sea turtle and Resolve was chosen for the wreck removal operation because of its plan to refloat the vessel in one piece, thus limiting environmental damage. Raysut II was loaded with 6,750mt of dry powdered cement and it had been declared a constructive total loss after an initial responder was unsuccessful in its attempts to refloat the vessel.

Resolve mobilised its crane barge RMG 1000 and tug Resolve Monarch from Singapore and after patching up and refloating the vessel it was towed to Salalah by Resolve Monarch. The refloating in one-piece option was chosen over other plans involving cutting up in-situ which would have involved delays. Once berthed, a complex operation followed involving reactivating and modifying the vessel’s cement pumping system allowing both the ‘fluid’ and partially solidified cargo to be transferred to road tankers.

By Peter Barker

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