Shipwrecks: Cleaning Up from the Past

By Greg Trauthwein
Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Marine salvage and subsea industry leaders gathered today on the MITAGS campus in Linthicum Heights, Md., to discuss the environmental, legal, financial and moral ramifications of the discovery and recovery of marine casualties, new and old, around the globe.

Dubbed “Wrecks of the World: Hidden Risks of the Deep,” the conference -- which was sponsored by a long list of marine industry organizations including the American Salvage Association, the Marine Technology Society, NAMEPA and the International Salvage Association, among others – focused on a number of critical issues surrounding the discovery and mitigation of potential brewing ecological disasters.

According to research by Dagmar Schmidt Etkin, PH.D., of Environmental Research Consulting (Cortlandt Manor, NY), there are approximately 8,500 identified large shipwrecks found in the world’s oceans, representing between two and 15 million tons of oil and other hazardous materials. Of this 8,500, nearly 75% of the total, or 6,338, are World War II era wrecks, a total encompassing 1,065 tankers, 3,887 cargo ships and 1,416 military ships.

“This is a very complex issue, and we need a rational approach, from the technical to the legal to the finance, in educating the people regarding the importance of this issue. As part of the proactive approach, we need to step back and look at each of these 8500 vessels, and using the tools we have on risk assessment, for example, and triage these vessels for prioritization. Perhaps a small percentage are ones that will require a closer second look.”

The panels of experts from government, industry and academia equally agreed that while no two wrecks are alike, there are a common set of factors: water depth, local weather patterns, amount and types of hazardous materials found onboard, overall threat of environmental impact, and legal/political issues such as the handling of a vessel and human remains that may be deemed a “war grave”; that must be considered before considering action.

An interesting model for emulation could be the Norwegian one, as explained by Hans Petter Mortensholm, project manager U864, Norwegian Central Administration. Mortensholm explained that Norway identified 2300 shipwrecks around Norway, and classified the wrecks as High Risk (30); Moderate Risk (350); and Low Risk (1700), in terms of their potential impact on the environment and navigation. It was decided to intensively study the High Risk ships via ROV, and in 2006 the government decided to remove oil from five wrecks that it considers an imminent threat.

” I’d like to see the U.S. get squared away the way Norway is squared away,” said Dr. William Conner, Chief, Hazmat Emergency Response Division, NOAA OR&R.

 


Technology

Norsepower Secures Funds for World’s Largest Rotor Sail

Norsepower Oy Ltd., today announces that it has been selected to receive €2.6M in funding to further its research and development of the Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution technology.

MN100: MarineCFO

The Company: Founded in 1992, UA Business Solutions was a pioneer in the field of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and an early Microsoft Partner. The ERP evolution

Better Turbocharger Performance, Proven Tech

Engineer wisdom: Nothing is worse as the right idea at the wrong time. But with the new ECOCHARGE Two-Stage Turbocharging System MAN D&T has reached both goals.

Casualties

26 Hours of Information Recovered from El Faro's VDR

A group led by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has gathered information from the recovered voyage data recorder (VDR) of sunken cargo ship

Giant CMA CGM Ship Vasco De Gama Runs Aground

CMA CGM’s mega containership Vasco De Gama ran aground off the Port of Southampton on the UK’s south coast just after midnight on August 22, 2016, reported Fleetmon.

Fire-stricken Ferry Moored Safely

The fire aboard the passenger vessel ferry Caribbean Fantasy has been extinguished, and the vessel has been moored safely at Pier 15 in San Juan Harbor, the U.S.

History

This Day In Naval History: August 24

1814 - During the War of 1812, the British invade Md. and burn Washington, D.C. Commodore Thomas Tingey, superintendent of the Washington Navy Yard, burns the Navy

This Day In Naval History: August 23

1819 - Commodore Oliver H. Perry, the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie, dies on board the schooner, USS Nonsuch, in Trinidad of a fever contracted during his successful

Researchers to Visit ‘Battle of the Atlantic’ Wreckage

Researchers from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its partners are set to visit what remains of two ships—a German U-boat and

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Naval Architecture Navigation Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0801 sec (12 req/sec)