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TITAN Salvage Making Progress in Effort to Re-Float Sunken Ship

01/24/2008 08:30 am

(Dania, Fla.; Jan. 24, 2008) – TITAN Salvage, Crowley Maritime Corporation's salvage and wreck removal company, reported today that its salvage team on site in Gibraltar responding to the wreck of the bulk ship New Flame is preparing to begin cutting the stern section of the ship from the sunken bow so that the stern can be re-floated and towed away.

The New Flame, which sank following a collision while exiting the port of Gibraltar in August of last year, now lies in the open ocean off Gibraltar's Europa Point with the forward four cargo holds of the ship lying on the ocean bottom, and cargo hold No. 5 and the engine room still floating while being maintained by TITAN's salvage pumps. The ship is loaded with over 42,000 tons of scrap metal, which was being transported from New York Harbor to Turkey for recycling.

TITAN was contracted by vessel underwriters in mid-December after previous salvage/wreck removal efforts were terminated. The TITAN team first boarded the wreck on Dec. 24 and, because of pre-Christmas storms, was forced to work very quickly to prevent the stern section of the ship from sinking – performing damage control measures to stop the flooding in the engine room and cargo hold No. 5.

The salvage team presently consists of 20 people with logistics being supported from Titan's UK-based equipment depot. Vessels on site include Crowley's Invader class tug Warrior, which is serving as the primary salvage tug on site; URS's dive support vessel Union Beaver; ITC's Shoal Buster class tug Mistral, which is on her maiden voyage; and Crowley's 400 x 100 deck barge 408. Salvage equipment on site includes six TITAN pullers, two of which are currently on the wrecks stern fixed with heavy chain to two 10,000-kilo anchors. The chains are set by the pullers at 135 tons each.

With buoyancy in the after section now stabilized by the salvage team, efforts are underway to cut the ship in to two sections separating the ships floating after section – comprised of the engine room, accommodation block and No. 5 cargo hold from the sunken forward section of the ship. Completing this cut will enable salvors to float away the after part of the ship for onward transportation to an approved scrapping facility.

Prior to completing the cut, the team must first moor the barge 408 at the forward end of the wreck and cut away deck structures such as cranes, masts and deck houses to enable the barge to float freely over the wreck as it is moved further aft along the wreck until reaching the cut line at the after end of the No. 4 cargo hold. To complete this cut, TITAN will use heavy anchor chain operated by two TITAN pullers positioned aboard the barge 408. As cutting will take place in way of the No. 4 double bottom fuel tanks, all efforts at this time are being focused on removing fuel oil residue from these tanks.

Barge 408 was moored at the wreck site Monday. Depending on weather conditions, deck clearing operations should last about seven working days and the actual cutting of the ship and stabilization of the stern section should take about another 5 days. Complete removal of the sunken forward section of the ship and cargo is estimated to take an additional 90 to 120 working days.

TITAN, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Crowley Marine Services, Inc. is a worldwide salvage company based in Pompano Beach, Fla. The company also has offices in Newhaven, UK and Singapore along with an equipment depot in Batam, Indonesia. Over the past 27 years, TITAN has performed more than 300 salvage and wreck removal projects worldwide. Titan responds to vessel emergencies around the world and is accessible 24 hours a day through the company's main dispatch telephone number, 954-545-4143. Additional information about TITAN may be found at www.titansalvage.com.

Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime Corporation, founded in San Francisco in 1892, is a privately held family and employee-owned company that provides diversified transportation and logistics services in domestic and international markets by means of six operating lines of business: Puerto Rico/Caribbean Liner Services, Latin America Liner Services, Logistics Services, Petroleum Services, Marine Services and Technical Services. Offered within these operating lines of business are the following services: liner container shipping, logistics, contract towing and transportation; ship assist and escort; energy support; salvage and emergency response; vessel management; vessel construction and naval architecture; government services, and petroleum and chemical transportation, distribution and sales. Additional information about Crowley its subsidiaries and business units may be found on the Internet at www.crowley.com.

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