Saving Coral Reefs – One Shipwreck at a Time

Posted by Eric Haun
Monday, March 24, 2014
Photo: Global Diving & Salvage

In the summer of 1991, a 121 foot long Taiwanese long line fishing vessel, the HUI FENG #1, ran aground on an atoll in the middle of the Pacific. With a footprint of just 4.6 square miles Palmyra Atoll forms the most northern vegetated island in the Northern Line Islands, lying some 1,000 miles south of Honolulu.  The atoll has a long storied past and is now a national monument and wildlife refuge, cooperatively managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and The Nature Conservancy.

Palmyra Atoll encompasses some of the last remaining near- pristine reef environment on earth, boasting an intact marine predator-dominated marine ecosystem where species’  richness and  diversity abound, with  over 176 species of hard coral and 418 species of reef fish.  Through monitoring of the reefs, a slow and insidious destruction was identified by the HUI FENG #1 and the other wrecks deteriorating on Palmyra and Kingman Reef, a non-vegetated wildlife refuge reef located 35 miles to the northwest of Palmyra.

At Palmyra the problem lay in a native marine organism called corallimorph that was effectively smothering the corals surrounding the wreck.  Researchers have made observations over several years that showed the spread of the organism progressively increasing due to the leaching of iron into the environment as the wreck corroded serving as a fertilizer of sorts.   At Kingman the problem was not corallimorph, but an invasive form of algae feeding off nutrients released from the dissolving wreckage of a burned fishing vessel. 

In September of 2012, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s issued an RFP for the removal of the two wrecks from Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef. Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. reached out to Curtin Maritime, frequent partners in unique and challenging projects, to collaborate on this. Several factors were fundamental in the planning process: the safety of personnel and equipment, followed closely by mitigating the potential of further damage to the extremely delicate living coral and reef structure.   Working together a creative plan was developed to remove the wreckage from the inner-tidal areas. Flat deck scows were designed and built with shallow draft to transit the debris across the coral reef areas to the main barge that provided logistical support and housing for the project.

In total, the combined crew of 12 worked 79 days with 880 hours spent underwater to cut, rig and remove over 970,000 pounds of steel and debris, as well as 605 gallons of hydrocarbons. Susan White, the USFWS’s project leader for the removal effort, said the debris was “the equivalent of 67 large elephants or 31 city buses and was removed to protect some of the world’s most pristine coral reefs.”
 

Maritime Reporter July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Panama Canal Updates Maersk on Expansion

Within the framework of the centennial celebration, the Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano received a Maersk Line delegation led by Søren Skou, CEO of Maersk Liner Business,

Refiners Seek Jones Act Workarounds as Crude Export Debate Heats Up

As the first U.S. oil condensate exports head to Asia from the Gulf Coast, crude producers and refiners are exploring ways to get around a century-old law that

Maritime Security West Conference Underway in Tacoma

On water and in the air, maritime security involves local, state and federal stakeholders The 2014 Maritime Security West conference is underway in Tacoma, Washington.

Environmental

Doosan Delivers a ‘World’s First’ to NASSCO

Doosan Engine has confirmed delivery of the world’s first dual-fuel, low-speed ME-GI engine to the American National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego, USA.

Pipeline Corrosion Shutters Statoil's Troll C Platform

Norway's Statoil shut oil and gas production at its Troll C platform in the North Sea after inspections found corrosion damage on a pipeline, the company said in

Port of Long Beach to the Rescue of Birds

The Port of Long Beach announced Tuesday that it is expanding its partnership with International Bird Rescue, a global expert in oiled wildlife emergencies and aquatic bird care,

Salvage

Search Suspended for Man Overboard near Cedar Bayou

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Tuesday for a man who went missing after his shrimp boat overturned Monday near Cedar Bayou on the Houston Ship Channel.

Oil Spills into Ohio River from Coal Plant

The U.S. Coast Guard closed a 15-mile stretch of the Ohio River on Tuesday after at least five thousand gallons of fuel oil spilled from a 60-year-old power plant owned by Duke Energy near Cincinnati,

Crews Searching Bahamas Waters for Downed Aircraft

U.S. Coast Guard search-and-rescue crews are responding to a reported downed Cessna aircraft with four people aboard in the vicinity of Freeport Bahamas Airport, Bahamas, Monday morning.

News

Panama Canal Updates Maersk on Expansion

Within the framework of the centennial celebration, the Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano received a Maersk Line delegation led by Søren Skou, CEO of Maersk Liner Business,

First Two Mooring Boats Launched for Port of Ras Laffan

Nakilat has celebrated the delivery of two 16-meter mooring boats built by shipbuilder Nakilat Damen Shipyards Qatar for towage operator Nakilat Svitzer Wijsmuller.

Refiners Seek Jones Act Workarounds as Crude Export Debate Heats Up

As the first U.S. oil condensate exports head to Asia from the Gulf Coast, crude producers and refiners are exploring ways to get around a century-old law that

 
 
Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.2135 sec (5 req/sec)