Sunken Barge Raised from Gulf of Mexico Seafloor
A sunken derrick barge has been raised from the Gulf of Mexico seafloor following several months of planning, engineering, on-site preparations and the heaviest salvage lift ever accomplished in the Americas, said marine services and wreck removal specialists Resolve Salvage and Fire Americas.
The 350 ft x 100 ft derrick barge DB1 sank 30 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico on October 22, 2017, when adverse weather caused it to drag anchors and contact the offshore platform that the DB1 was engaged in removing. Multiple compartments were breached and the DB1 came to rest on the seafloor and on top of the platform jacket structure.
From the outset, a one-piece lift of the DB1 represented the most environmentally friendly removal method compared with other proposals to section the vessel in pieces. But implementing such a plan was extremely challenging and required the company’s specialized equipment and expertise to complete safely, Resolve said.
The company mobilized assets from its salvage bases around the world including from Singapore; Ft Lauderdale, Fla.; and Mobile, Ala. Key project assets included Resolve’s patented heave-compensated chain puller lift system deployed from the Resolve CONQUEST MB1 1,400-ton derrick barge and RMG 302 crane barge. Resolve mobilized a 40-person team of salvage experts and divers to support the 24/7 operation and engaged numerous support vessels and resources from the region.
After extensive preparations including the installation of heavy rigging under the DB1, the lifting gear was connected and the DB1 was steadily raised to the surface between the MB1 and RMG 302 with 6,000 tons of lift force – an industry first.
Resolve then mobilized the semi-submersible barge BOABARGE 29 to the offshore site to receive the DB1. On arrival, the BOABARGE 29 submerged to the seafloor and the DB1 was winched over the top with inches of margin. The submersible barge was then raised with the DB1 safely aboard and then towed to Brownsville, Texas, for DB1’s dismantling and recycling.
“Raising the DB1 was an extraordinary engineering and operations challenge and I am extremely proud of the entire project team.” stated Andy Butts, Resolve’s Salvage Master. “Special recognition is extended to our key support partners including Conquest Offshore, BOA Barges, Offshore Towing, Offshore Marine Contractors, Smith Maritime, Tradewinds Towing, and Oceaneering. We also thank the owner team of Turkey Offshore Project Solutions, QBE Insurance and London Offshore Consultants for choosing Resolve and for facilitating a smooth operation.”