Tricolor Wreck Removal Resumes

Friday, May 14, 2004
The wreck removal of the ‘Tricolor’, the vehicle carrier that was lost in December 2002 20 miles off the French coast in the English Channel, will resume May 15. The vessel was cut into nine sections, four of which remain on the seabed. The remaining sections will be lifted and transported to Zeebrugge in the months to come. All the cutting work on the vessel finished last year before the operation was halted in November due to adverse weather conditions.

The 1987-built ‘Tricolor’ was lost following a collision with the container ship Kariba. The ‘Tricolor’ was en route to Southampton from Antwerp, laden with nearly 3,000 luxury cars. It also carried some 2,000 tons of bunker oil. The vessel suffered severe damage and she went down in less than half an hour. Thankfully all crewmembers were rescued. The wreck has been ordered to be removed by the French Authorities.

So far the Combinatie Berging Tricolor, the consortium responsible for the wreck removal operation, has performed all eight required cuts and has removed five of the nine sections from the seabed. The remaining sections will be partially lifted and any remaining section debris will be cleared by the floating sheerlegs ‘Taklift 4’, equipped with a special wreck grab.

Besides removing the remaining sections, the salvors will recover other debris within the wreck site. This includes all cars that have slipped out of the vessel into the sea. As there may still be small quantities of oil trapped on board the vessel, an anti pollution vessel will be stationed next to the ‘Tricolor’ to prevent oil from escaping the scene.

Depending on weather conditions, the work is expected to be completed in/around September of this year.

The salvage of the TRICOLOR is being carried out by the ‘Combinatie Berging Tricolor’, 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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