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Smit Tak Removes Casualties la Brazil, ladia

Smit Tak salvage experts have successfully completed a difficult wreck removal operation in the vicinity of the important iron ore export terminal at Sao Luis, northern Brazil.

A harbor tug, the Rigel, sank in the Fairway. The tug had been assisting a Polish bulk carrier on November 6, 1994 when the incident occurred. The tug — just 18 months old — went down in an area noted for its fierce current and constant bottom movement.

There was concern that the wreck of the Rigel could eventually block the approach to the iron ore terminal. This facility is used by the 365,000 dwt Berge Stahl — reportedly the world's largest bulk carrier which calls at Sao Luis to load iron ore for Europe.

The 1,200-ton capacity sheerlegs Taklift 6, mobilized from the Gulf of Mexico, performed the wreck removal on behalf of the tug owners Sobrare Servemar and the Brazilian Salvage Association. The wreck was lifted bodily from a 131-ft. (40-m) water depth on September 21, following diving work and preparations assisted by local company O'Marinheiro.

Smit Tak Manager Geert Koffeman said: "This was a challenging wreck removal due to the adverse conditions on the site... The current runs at up to six knots. The best you can hope for is three knots on a dead tide. There are just two diving hours a day — one hour at each slack water." Smit Tak To Remove Bulk Carrier Wreck Smit Tak has been awarded a major contract to remove the wreck of the bulk carrier Sea Transporter, which ran aground in heavy weather earlier this year, at a sensitive location on the Indian coast.

The 64,000-dwt Panamax vessel was on a ballast voyage in June when Force 11 monsoon winds pushed her ashore at Fort Aguada, Goa. The ship broke its back on a rocky shore, adjacent to an important amenity area and close to a major tourist development.

The Sea Transporter was built in 1972. Following the grounding, immediate action was taken to remove the environmental threat posed by the ship's bunkers. However, the condition of the vessel now rules out any refloating attempt. The ship has suffered very severe bottom damage; all holds in the engine room are flooded.

Smit Tak's contract is with the owner's P&I Club. Bert Kleywegt, an experienced senior salvage master, heads a 36-man salvage team preparing for the wreck removal. The team includes 12 personnel from a local company, Samson of Goa. Work is expected to be done by mid-January.

The plan calls for the removal of the casualty's mid-section and the refloating of the forepart and stern sections. A substantial salvage fleet was mobilized from Singapore, including the sheerlegs crane Smit Cyclone, an anchor-handling salvage vessel and other units, including two barges. Resources at the scene include diving, cutting and welding equipment, generators, submersible pumps, compressors and patching materials.

The Smit Cyclone will be used to remove the midsection, which will be loaded onto one of the barges. During the next stage, the accommodation block will be severed from the main body of the stern section and cut in two. Smit Cyclone will lift both onto the barge for the voyage to a scrap yard.

At this stage, final preparations will be made for raising the stern section. A lifting barge will be positioned at the severed end of Hold No. 7. The sheerlegs will be connected to the stern. Smit Tak's plan calls for the stern section of Sea Transporter to be lifted apprximately three ft. (one meter) clear of the bottom. When refloated, it will also be towed away for scrap. Elsewhere in the world, Smit Tak salvage teams successfully refloated two casualties on the same day — the 38,000-dwt Turkish vessel Mustafa Sofuoglu, carrying 3,612 tons of steel coils, and the 38,406- dwt geared bulk carrier Constantinople, Greek-owned and flying the Maltese flag.

 
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