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)

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter April 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Chevron Suffers Loss, Plans Job Cuts

Chevron Corp. reported a first-quarter loss as slumping oil prices continued to drag down revenue. The company said that it is "on target" to lay off a total of 8000 workers by the end of 2016,

China COSCO to be First through the Expanded Panama Canal

China COSCO Shipping has won the draw for its container vessel Andronikos to make the ceremonial first transit through the Expanded Panama Canal during the waterway’s inauguration on Sunday, June 26.

Sellick Equipment to Open New Facility

On April, 20, 2016, at the young age of 97 years, Walter Sellick along with sons Howard Sellick - President, David Sellick - Vice President and grandson Colin Sellick - Systems Manager,

Environmental

Italian Ship Rescues 26 Migrants off Libya

An Italian merchant ship rescued 26 migrants off the coast of Libya in rough seas and others were feared missing, the Coast Guard said on Saturday. The Coast

Symphony Sun’ Launched in Leer

On Friday the 29th of April, Nb. 420 was launched in Leer. She was christened ‘Symphony Sun’ and is the fourth vessel in a series of 6 that will be delivered to Symphony Shipping.

Great Lakes Inks M.E., N.C. Coastal Protection Project Deals

Great Lakes Announces $55 Million in Subcontract Work in the Middle East and Award of $38 Million for a Domestic Coastal Protection Project Great Lakes Dredge

News

Oil Price Bottoming Depends on Global Growth - IEA chief

International Energy Agency (IEA) chief Fatih Birol said on Sunday that oil prices may have bottomed but that would depend on global economic growth. Asked if oil prices had reached a bottom,

Blacklisted Tanker Returns to Libya's Zawiya Port

A tanker that Libya's rival eastern government had been using to try to export oil in defiance of the Western-backed administration in Tripoli returned to the country on Saturday,

Lerwick Harbor sees Seasonal Boost

The opening of the offshore season in northern waters has seen specialist oil industry vessels return to Lerwick Harbor during April to support subsea development projects.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Repair 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: 0.1380 sec (7 req/sec)