Salvage Crews Avert Disaster in the Galápagos

Posted by Eric Haun
Friday, August 01, 2014
View on the vessel from the coast of the Galápagos (Photo courtesy of Mammoet Salvage)

Mammoet Salvage helps avert environmental disaster in the Galápagos Islands

Mammoet Salvage and its partner, CPT Remolcadores SA of Chile, recently responded to a State of Emergency issued by the government of Ecuador after cargo ship Galapaface 1 – loaded with 19,000 gallons of fuel, petroleum products, chemicals and tons of various cargo – ran aground while departing the island of San Cristobal. Recognizing the imminent disaster and threat of pollution to the UNESCO world heritage site, the Government of Ecuador contracted Mammoet Salvage and CPT to begin immediate operations to remove the ship.

The grounding occurred in the same harbor that naturalist Charles Darwin visited in 1835. The diverse and unique wildlife there led to his theory of natural selection and the publishing of the book Origin of Species and the theory of evolution. In 2001, a grounded ship in the same harbor caused a great deal of damage to the marine life, especially the marine iguana population.

Mammoet Salvage and CPT mobilized salvage experts to San Cristobal to assess the situation. Their survey of the casualty showed extensive damage to the hull, which flooded the cargo holds and engine room. A salvage plan was developed and submitted to the Ministry of the Environment.

Determined to prevent a disaster similar to the 2001 incident, the Ministry moved quickly and approved the salvage plan. Subsequently, Mammoet and CPT mobilized equipment, tugboats and personnel. The team of salvage experts and equipment were immediately mobilized. Personnel and equipment came from the U.S., Ecuador, Chile, The Netherlands and Singapore. The Ecuadoran Air Force supported the operation by flying specialized salvage equipment to San Cristobal.

Due to the remote location of the island, and the need for expediency, the salvage crew faced many challenges. The plan approved by the authorities was simple: strip the ship of all pollutants (oil, paints, fuel), cargo (barrels of oil, acid based batteries and tons of cement), floatable materials (plastics, furnishings, crew items, mattresses) and refloat the ship. A permit was issued to tow the ship out into the open ocean and scuttle her in 2,500 meters of water. This was the preferred solution, as the authorities deemed towing the damaged freighter to the coast too great a risk to the environment. Due to very volatile weather conditions in the area, the probability of the vessel capsizing or sinking in an uncontrolled manner was considered too high.

While the plan was simple, the execution was challenging, Mammoet said. Salvage divers were faced with the task of removing the pollutants and cargo manually. Naval architects designed two flotation tanks to make the ship buoyant. Holes in the hull were welded closed by the divers. The tanks, custom fabricated on the mainland, were shipped to San Cristobal by barge. These were filled with water, sunk alongside, and attached to the ship’s hull. Water was then pumped out of the tanks and holds of the ship to refloat her.

After two months of nonstop work, the Galapaface 1 was refloated on July 15. She was then escorted by the Ecuadorian Coast Guard and Navy, and towed to her final resting place.

The operation was completed without incidents or accidents and without any damage to the environment.

mammoetsalvage.com
 

  • divers at the flotation tanks (Photo courtesy of Mammoet Salvage)

    divers at the flotation tanks (Photo courtesy of Mammoet Salvage)


People & Company News

MN100: MarineCFO

The Company: Founded in 1992, UA Business Solutions was a pioneer in the field of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and an early Microsoft Partner. The ERP evolution

MN100: All American Marine, Inc.

The Company: All American Marine Inc. was founded in 1987 and specializes in the construction of custom tailored aluminum boats from 30 to 150 feet LOA. Today,

Five Minutes with Paul Switzer

Five minutes with Paul Switzer - Manager, Shipbuilding & Offshore, Viega   For readers not familiar with Viega, please give a ‘birds eye’ view, putting the company

Environmental

Lucas Marine, Harbor Breeze Cruises Partner to Cut Fuel Costs

Lucas Marine is partnering with Harbor Breeze Corporation to help reduce the yacht charter and cruise company's fuel costs, maintenance and environmental impact in Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbors.

Fednav Welcomes Innovative Ballast System at Indiana Port

Fednav Limited, the largest international bulk shipowner in Canada, welcomed to the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, the Federal Caribou, one of seven new oceangoing

2015 Congestion Affected Long Beach Port's Air Quality

Pollution around the Port of Long Beach has been dramatically cut over the last decade, however, according to the latest study, lingering effects from ships at

Salvage

26 Hours of Information Recovered from El Faro's VDR

A group led by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has gathered information from the recovered voyage data recorder (VDR) of sunken cargo ship

The Economics of Ship Breaking & Scrapping

Sometimes being an industry supplier offers interesting insights – your business is touched by the ups and downs of the charter market, but you are never so involved

Giant CMA CGM Ship Vasco De Gama Runs Aground

CMA CGM’s mega containership Vasco De Gama ran aground off the Port of Southampton on the UK’s south coast just after midnight on August 22, 2016, reported Fleetmon.

News

US Navy Ships Conduct Astern Replenishment-at-sea

“While replenishments-at-sea are routine, astern refueling is unique and requires precise navigation and coordination,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Ileto, fleet replenishment scheduler for Commander,

US Offshore Lease Sale Yields $18 Mln in High Bids

Today’s U.S. oil and gas Lease Sale 248 garnered $18,067,020 in high bids for 24 tracts covering 138,240 acres in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area, announced

Another Hurdle for The Ocean Alliance

Commissioner William P. Doyle of the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission today voted in favor of requesting additional information from The Ocean Alliance parties.

Subsea Salvage

Researchers to Visit ‘Battle of the Atlantic’ Wreckage

Researchers from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its partners are set to visit what remains of two ships—a German U-boat and

Submarine Found in North Sea

The Danish Maritime Authority confirms having received a report on the finding of a wreck off the west coast of Jutland. The report also states that there are

Salvors Assessing Grounded Transocean Drilling Rig

A team of eight salvors is now making its way on board the drilling rig Transocean Winner which is currently grounded off the Isle of Lewis. They’ll now be carrying

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1363 sec (7 req/sec)