Inland Salvage Inc. Completes Wreck Removal Operations of the F/V ‘Sandy Point’ Clearing the Gulfport Ship Channel
Immediately upon being notified by the vessel’s owner that Inland Salvage Inc. (ISI) had been appointed as the salvor, ISI responded to the sinking of the 168′ fishing vessel “Sandy Point” which collided with the container ship “Eurus London” on May 18, 2011. The “Sandy Point” was laden with approximately 5,000 gallons of diesel oil, with 1,200,000 menhaden fish and 100 gallons of lubrication oil when the vessel sank.
ISI quickly mobilized salvage equipment and personnel and were on scene within 24 hrs from receiving the notice to commence operations.
Inland Salvage Inc. faced a daunting list of environmental and public concerns. The vessel sank on the western edge of the Gulfport ship channel. Ship traffic sensitive to the economy of Gulfport could not be impeded. Close oversight by the US Coast Guard, National Parks Service, and the public in general, would tolerate no errors in judgment. Further complication came with the salvage operation coinciding with the traditional Mississippi boating weekend of Memorial Day, hurricane season and historic flooding of The Mississippi River.
The first and by far the most important order of business was the location and recovery of the 3 missing crew members remains. This most difficult of tasks was completed in 2 days. It was preceded by a traditional maritime ceremony and the placing of American flags with each crew member when recovered. The flags were obtained from other causalities in which crewmember’s remains were previously recovered by Inland Salvage, Inc. divers.
Fuel, lube oil and hydraulic oils were removed with hot tapping. The cargo of fish was discharged into a receiver boat as well as air-lifted.
Great clouds of purse-netting and the 2 seine boats were removed before a diving survey could be conducted.
The diving survey determined that the casualty’s Hull Girder Section Modulus was so compromised that the hull would be divided into two sections. Using airlifts and water jetting divers excavated 5 tunnels between the port side of the causality and the sea floor. Eight sets of rolling and catching rigging (par buckling) were passed through the 2 forward and 2 aft tunnels. A cutting chain was passed through the middle tunnel.
Inland Salvage Inc.’s A-Frame H/L salvage barges “Large Marge” and “Big Al” were used to render the 3inch ORQ anchor chain loaded to 300 tons in the cutting operation. The task of preserving collision damage was complicated by its location in aft part of forward fish hull. This being the best location to cut the casualty, divers resolved the problem by making pilot cuts with underwater torches. These cuts steered the cutting chain, dividing the collision damage into 2 equal halves which preserved the impact area for investigation and eliminated the complications of a single lift of the severely weekend hull.
The 350 ton bow section containing the crew’s accommodations and wheel house were par buckled upright, lifted off the sea floor and placed on a receiver barge which had pre-arranged cribbing specifically calculated by a naval architect and sea fastened for travel. The section was then towed in to the MS State Docks for further USCG investigation and surveys.
Within a few days the same course of action was taken in recovering the 480 ton stern section.
A debris field recovery followed the removal of the hulls.
Inland Salvage Inc.’s policy of going beyond state and federal standards insured the complex verging of events of Gulf Shores National Seashore and the Mississippi coastal community was not adversely impacted by the salvage project. Daily safety and job task meetings were conducted to insure that all participants in the salvage and pollution response were aware and prepared for the daily activities. The resources of all personnel were directed towards one common goal – a well-planned and safely executed operation.
Eli Zatezalo, President of Inland Salvage Inc., stated, “This was a sensitive salvage operation, our main focus was locating and recovering the 3 missing crew members remains so that they could be returned to their loved ones. We were faced with almost every facet of salvage during this operation. Locating and recovering the missing crew members, chain cutting the vessel in half, underwater hot-tapping for lightering operations, par-buckling each section and heavy lifts in the 400t to 500t range – all conducted 8 miles offshore.
“I’m proud to have the skilled personnel we have within our organization. The support of our J/V partner River Salvage Company as well as the support of the USCG was significant in an overall safe and successful operation.”
Media Contact: Director of Marketing Inland Salvage Inc., 251-990-6444, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Inland Salvage Inc.