Mammoet Salvage of Schiedam, the Netherlands, agreed to terms for the removal of the wreck of the Liberian container ship, Safmarine Agulhas, which ran aground and broke in half in the South African port of East London. The operation will be carried out in South Africa in the coming months.
Since starting its activities on January 1, 2006, Mammoet Salvage has completed ten salvage operations of varying sizes. Salvaging this wreck is the most extensive, specialized job yet.
The insurers issued a call for tenders, inviting international salvage companies to submit plans for dismantling and removing the wreckage quickly, safely, professionally and – in particular – in an environmentally-friendly manner. Mammoet Salvage was able to meet these demands not least, because of the presence of three self-propelled heavy portal cranes owned by Mammoet Southern Africa, which is located near East London.
Mammoet Salvage has started modifying the breakwater on which the wreck ran aground. A track is being installed on the breakwater for three mobile cranes, each with a lifting capacity of 450 tonnes, which will enable the cranes to change positions while carrying out the necessary lifting activities. Among others, this includes removing some 100 containers that are still onboard. Mammoet Salvage will work with a well-known specialist from South Africa for the demolition activities onboard.
The accommodation and superstructure above the waterline will be dismantled and removed by the portal cranes. Once the ship has been cropped and partial dismantled, the forward section of the ship and the stern will first be drawn ashore using a pulling system especially designed by Mammoet. Once on shore, the demolition crew can continue their work.
The wreck removal operation is expected to be completed by May next year. Besides 50 employees on average, an environmental expert will also be involved in the salvage operation.
Mobilization has begun and equipment from the Schiedam head office as well as the portal cranes in Southern Africa are en route. Meanwhile, Mammoet Southern Africa is preparing the work site with all the necessary preparations.