Titan Refloats and Scuttles a Semi-Submersible Platform

Friday, February 23, 2007
Titan, Crowley Maritime Corporation's salvage and wreck removal company, successfully completed the refloating and scuttling of the A Turtle semi-submersible platform earlier this month at Tristan da Cunha, one of the world's most remote islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. The 10,500-ton platform, went aground on the island in Trypot Bay in May of 2006, after being separated from a tug, which was towing the rig from Brazil to Singapore for rebuilding.

Titan did a preliminary survey at the end of October, and determined that the platform could be repaired and refloated. A tender for removal was issued in November and Titan was selected as wreck removal contractor. In December a "No-Cure, No-Pay" contract was agreed to with the owner and underwriters of the A Turtle. Titan's salvage team arrived at the site of the casualty Dec. 22, after a 1,743-mile-trip on the chartered vessel Kelso. The remainder of the 20 person Titan salvage team arrived 7 days later on the chartered tug De Hong. Over the next 50 days, the salvors repaired extensive damage to the pontoons and legs of the platform, about 70 percent of which were damaged in the grounding and subsequent extreme weather. The operation originally scheduled for 30 days, took longer due to the additional damage that had occurred from the time of the October survey and the start of the project at the end December. In addition, the platform supports began to suffer stress fatigue during the first week of February.

The refloating plan called for removal of the heaviest components from the topside of the rig and discarding them at an approved disposal site. By the time the rig was removed from the rocks, more than 800 tons had been cut away. This lightening effort, along with regaining buoyancy in the damaged subsea structures, eventually allowed the platform to be towed off the reef at Trypot Bay. Salvage Master, Rich Habib, and his team of salvors refloated and removed the A Turtle from the reef on Feb. 10 and the deepwater disposal occurred on the following morning. The refloating and sinking was made possible by the Governor of St. Helena, who also exercises executive authority for Tristan da Cunha, issuing a permit under the Environmental Protection (Overseas Territories) Order 1988, for the stranded rig to be disposed of at sea, with due regard to meeting environmental concerns.

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