(Dania, Fla.; Feb. 23, 2007) – TITAN, Crowley Maritime Corporation’s salvage and wreck removal company, successfully completed the refloating and scuttling of the A Turtle semi-submersible platform earlier this month at Tristan da Cunha, one of the world’s most remote islands in the South Atlantic Ocean.
The 10,500-ton platform, went aground on the island in Trypot Bay in May of 2006, after being separated from a tug, which was towing the rig from Brazil to Singapore for rebuilding.
TITAN did a preliminary survey at the end of October, and determined that the platform could be repaired and refloated. A tender for removal was issued in November and TITAN was selected as wreck removal contractor. In December, a “No-Cure, No-Pay” contract was agreed to with the owner and underwriters of the A Turtle.
TITAN’s advance salvage team arrived at the site of the casualty Dec. 22, after a 1,743-mile-trip on the chartered vessel Kelso. The remainder of the 20 person TITAN salvage team arrived 7 days later on the chartered tug De Hong.
Over the next 50 days, the salvors repaired extensive damage to the pontoons and legs of the platform, about 70 percent of which were damaged in the grounding and subsequent extreme weather. The operation originally scheduled for 30 days, took longer due to the additional damage that had occurred from the time of the October survey and the start of the project at the end December. In addition, the platform supports began to suffer stress fatigue during the first week of February.
The refloating plan called for removal of the heaviest components from the topside of the rig and discarding them at an approved disposal site. By the time the rig was removed from the rocks, more than 800 tons had been cut away. This lightening effort, along with regaining buoyancy in the damaged subsea structures, eventually allowed the platform to be towed off the reef at Trypot Bay.
“We regained buoyancy to the pontoons and legs by repairing damage, inserting high volume air bags, and blowing down with compressed air,” said Todd Busch, TITAN vice president. “This was made even more difficult by many days with winds in excess of 50 miles per hour and torrential rain. The rough seas made diving difficult and dangerous for the dive team.”
Salvage Master, Rich Habib, and his team of salvors refloated and removed the A Turtle from the reef on Feb. 10 and the deepwater disposal occurred on the following morning. The refloating and sinking was made possible by the Governor of St. Helena, who also exercises executive authority for Tristan da Cunha, issuing a permit under the Environmental Protection (Overseas Territories) Order 1988, for the stranded rig to be disposed of at sea, with due regard to meeting environmental concerns.
“This was a very challenging, yet rewarding job,” Busch said. “We are pleased to have been able to remove the platform from the pristine waters of Trypot Bay and the beautiful island of Tristan da Cunha.”
The island is a British overseas territory and home to about 272 UK citizens. It has the title of – “the world’s most isolated settlement.” The island has no airport and is only accessible by ocean transport – a seven-day trip from Cape Town, South Africa.
TITAN, which is part of Crowley’s Marine Services business segment and a wholly owned subsidiary, is a worldwide salvage company based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The company also has offices in Newhaven, UK, Singapore and Sao Paulo, Brazil and equipment depots in Batam, Indonesia and Dubai, UAE. Over the past 25 years, TITAN has performed more than 200 salvage and wreck removal projects worldwide. Additional information about TITAN may be found at www.titansalvage.com.
Oakland-based Crowley Maritime Corporation, founded in 1892, is primarily a family and employee-owned company that provides diversified transportation and logistics services in domestic and international markets by means of four operating lines of business: Liner Services; Logistics Services; Petroleum Services and Marine Services. Other services provided within these business lines include contract towing and transportation; ship assist and escort; energy support; salvage and emergency response; vessel management, 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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