Cutting of the Tricolor Starts Today

Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Weather improvements have allowed salvors in the English Channel to commence work on the wreck removal operation of the Tricolor. Due to bad weather conditions the operation had to be discontinued on July 16. Despite the delay work is still on schedule. After extensive preparations the ‘Combinatie Berging Tricolor' will initiate the first of eight cuts today. The cutting wire will be pulled back and forth with special winches aboard the platforms Vagant and the Buzzard. The Buzzard has been utilised earlier to install messenger wires underneath the wreckage of the Tricolor. Those wires have to guide the cutting wire into position. After cutting the sections will be lifted out of the water by the floating sheerlegs the Asian Hercules II and the Rambiz and positioned on the semi-submersible barge Giant 4. This barge will transport the sections to Zeebrugge where the cargo will be taken out and dismantled at specially prepared locations. All operations will be conducted with due care for the environment and safety of passing vessels in this important shipping lane. The CBT will station an anti-pollution vessel in the vicinity of the Tricolor throughout the operation. The Tricolor is a 1987 built Norwegian flagged vehicle carrier, which, in the early hours of 14 December 2002, was struck by KARIBA, a 1982 built Bahamian flagged container ship, in the French Exclusive Economic Zone some 20 miles north of the French coast in the English Channel. The Tricolor sank as a result of the impact of the collision and was eventually declared a total loss. In December 2002, French authorities ordered the wreck to be removed, as it was perceived to represent a danger to shipping and the environment.The salvage of the TRICOLOR is being carried out by the 'Combinatie Berging Ticolor', a consortium consisting of: SMIT Salvage B.V., Scaldis Salvage & Marine Contractors N.V., URS Salvage & Maritime Contracting N.V., and Multraship Salvage B.V. The salvage contract was awarded to the consortium by Wilh. Wilhelmsen and Gard Services.

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