Salvage of two of the notorious wrecks of 2020 have passed new milestones after lengthy delays
A Chinese specialist has been contracted to remove the wrecked stern of Newcastlemax bulk carrier Wakashio, starting next month.
Nagashiki Shipping has confirmed Lianyungang Dali Underwater Engineering is mobilising assets and equipment to Mauritius where Wakashio crashed into coral reefs in July 2020, causing considerable oil pollution and international condemnation.
Wakashio was on charter to Mitsui OSK Lines at the time of the incident.
Its stern is the final section remaining on the reef after the ship’s bow was towed out to the open ocean and scuttled in August by two tugs operated by Smit.
Nagashiki Shipping said it “planned to proceed with consultation and confirmation with the Mauritius authorities regarding removing the hull remains.”
Lianyungang Dali Underwater Engineering will begin wreck removal in December 2020, finishing a key phase in the clean-up operations.
Nagashiki Shipping said removal of oil pollution from the sea surface was completed with around 1,000 tonnes of oil spilled recovered, thanks to local residents and oil cleaning companies. Work continues with removing oil that had drifted over about 30 km along the coast, with this expected to be completed in January 2021.
It is co-operating with the Mauritian Natural Environment Recovery Fund on coastal oil recovery, salvage of the hull stern “and fulfilment of our responsibilities as a shipowner, such as procurement and transportation of goods,” Nagashiki Shipping said.
IMO helped Mauritius to mitigate the impacts form Wakashio grounding and oil spill.
Investigations into the cause of the Wakashio accident and into actions by the captain and crew are being conducted by the Mauritius Government and the related authorities in Japan.
To remove the stern section, Lianyungang Dali Underwater Engineering will use a heavy-lift crane barge with support from other barges and tugs.
Progress has also been made on another major salvage project in the US. Salvors have started cutting up capsized roro ship Golden Ray in St Simons Sound, Georgia.
They commenced cutting the wreck into sections using a specially built steel frame and anchor chain on heavy-lift crane barge, VB-10000, said the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Initial cutting operations were hampered when the chain broke after around 25 hours, but has now resumed following repairs.
Contractors are slicing the wreck into transverse sections using the anchor chain before lifting them on to barges for removal from the site.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources co-ordinator John Maddox said environmental barriers were in place with a 137 m safety zone around the wreck. “We installed a multi-layer environmental protection system and have practiced prevention and response strategies for several months,” he said.
Salvage work may need to be temporarily halted in upcoming adverse weather conditions. Authorities are closely monitoring approaching tropical storm Eta, which is expected to travel over Florida and Georgia on 12 November.
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