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Smit Makes Salvages From U. S. To Belgium

Smit salvage teams spent July responding to casualties in U.S. waters, the Caribbean and off the Belgian coast. On the first day of July, Smit Americas mobilized following a collision off the mouth of the Mississippi. The accident involved the Singaporeowned general cargo vessel Enif, 12,060 grt, and the Greek bulk carrier Alexia, 34,439 grt. Smit Americas obtained an International Salvors Union (ISU) subcontract to assist the 1981- built Alexia. Another team provided salvage services for the Enif, which had suffered heavy damage to the port side near the No. 3 hold. A number of spaces flooded as a result.

The Alexia had suffered bow damage. Both vessels were locked together by the force of the collision.

The salvage vessel Smit Hunter attended the casualties, in the company of four other tugs. A salvage plan was prepared and submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard. Having obtained USCG approval, the salvage team began to ballast down the bow of the Alexia. When sufficient bow trim had been achieved, it proved possible to pull the vessels apart.

Steps were taken to prevent pollution from the Alexia's bunker tanks. The vessel was inspected by the USCG and approval was given for the ship to be towed into Mobile, Ala. Meanwhile, a second salvage team was engaged in extensive pumping and cleaning activities on board the En i f . The vessel was also brought to a condition which allowed the authorities to sanction a tow to safety. The Enif was also taken to Mobile.

The Enif commenced permanent repairs at Bender's Yard 9 on Blakely Island. Considerable work was executed with the vessel afloat, while she waited to go on drydock in late August. Complete repairs are expected to take two months. Kingston Casualty Smit personnel also responded to a casualty in the Caribbean in early July. A Smit Tak salvage team was dispatched to assist the Italian-owned gas tanker Atlantic Star (7,014 dwt). The vessel, part laden with 2,616 tons of propane and butane, grounded on sand in the port of Kingston, Jamaica.

The Atlantic Star had just left the berth when she went hard aground on July 8. Responding under an LOF 95 (Lloyd's Open Forum) contract, Smit Tak deployed the vessels Smithbank and Olivierssen, together with the chartered tug Petrojam Negril.

Calculations suggested that the grounding force totaled 1,200 tons. Sand had built up amidships and threatened to complicate the refloating operation. This problem was solved by bringing the Olivierssen and Petrojam Negril alongside and using propeller wash to shift the sand. This proved successful and the Atlantic Star was refloated on a rising tide. Divers found only minor damage to the ship's hull.

Smit Tak was also involved in one of the more unusual cargo recoveries of 1995 — the rescue of some 4,500 tons of frozen french fries from the vessel Carina, which was involved in a collision off Ostend.

The 8,509-grt refrigerated cargo vessel and the 40,000-grt containership MSC Samia collided in dense fog during the late evening of July 7. Smit Tak worked with URS of Belgium under an ISU subcontract to perform the salvage. At dawn on July 8, both vessels were still locked together. The Carina had suffered severe damage to port, at a point forward of the accommodation. The engine room had flooded, together with hold No. 5 — astern of the accommodation. The damage to the Samia was restricted to the bow area.

The order to safeguard the Carina (together with her cargo of fries, destined for a well-known fast food chain), the URS/Smit Tak team decided to move the vessels clear of the fairway in their locked condition. The casualties were then maneuvered over a sandbank, in order to prevent any danger of the Carina sinking. By about 9:40 that morning, the team had safely disengaged the ships. TheCarina dropped her anchor while the Samia began the short voyage to Flushing under her own power, escorted by a salvage tug.

Meanwhile, the salvage vessel Onrust had been dispatched to the scene, carrying oil booms and special salvage equipment. An immediate problem was posed by a pollution threat from bunkers; booms were deployed and divers completed temporary patching to stem further leakage.

The cargo was the next priority. The vessel's refrigeration systems were dead and there was a risk that the french fries would spoil in the time required to transfer the cargo to another vessel. A solution was found — containers packed with dry ice. This way, the fries remained frozen throughout the cargo recovery operation, which proceeded rapidly despite heavy swell conditions. With the cargo transfer completed, the Carina was rowed safely into port.

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