A major contract to remove the stern of the container vessel MSC Napoli has been awarded to the newly-established company Global Response Maritime B.V.,based in The Netherlands.
The contract, placed by the vessel owners, calls for the clearance of a stern section with an estimated weight of around 3,800 tonnes.
MSC Napoli became a casualty during a violent Channel storm in January 2007. The vessel was beached deliberately, in order to prevent her sinking in the English Channel. Subsequent operations, by other contractors, included recovery of bunkers, containers and the forepart of the ship.
The work scope under the new contract involves the total removal of the stern, including main engine, together with delivery of all scrap to the recovery facility of Scheepssloperij Nederland B.V. at Gravendeel, in The Netherlands.
The equipment required for removal of MSC Napoli's stern includes the crane barge "Anna" of subcontractor Hapo International Barges, two 140 m flat-top barges equipped with heavy mobile cranes and two tugs. The task also requires diving and drilling spreads and a series of 24 chain-pullers.
The project method involves drilling under the stern and the positioning of lifting chains. This part of the operation is subcontracted to DISA in Beerse, Belgium, using crane barge "Anna" as the main work platform. Chain pullers will be installed on the two lifting barges. These will be moored parallel to the stern section. The chains will then be connected up to the pullers and tensioned. The barges will be ballasted down, to compensate for the forces acting on the pullers and reduce movement in the swell.
With all preparations completed, the stern will be lifted clear of the seabed, freeing the starboard bilge keel from the trench in which the stern is embedded. At this point, the two barges will be in catamaran configuration, with the stern section suspended between them. Next they will be rotated bow into swell.
The barges' mooring systems will be reinforced with grout anchors. It will be possible to set down the stern, should this be necessary in hostile weather.
Scrapping will commence when the pullers bring the wreck to the surface. Sections with weights of around 100 tonnes will be cut and lifted onto the main decks of the barges, utilising the two cranes. This operation will continue until the weight is reduced to around 1,200 tonnes. A decision will then be taken as to whether to lift this as one unit with the assistance of a sheerlegs or continue cutting until it is within the capacity of the larger of the two cranes (rated at 500 tonnes). This crane will also recover the poop deck, rudder and propeller - which are already detached from the stern.
Monitoring the project on behalf of the Government, the Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, Hugh Shaw said "I am delighted that the Owners have placed another contract for the removal of the final section of the MSC NAPOLI. From the onset of the incident they have shown tremendous resolve and commitment to remove the bunkers, cargo and the wreck. This contract marks the final piece of the jigsaw and I look forward to a successful operation."