Ship Salvage in the Presence of WWII Era Torpedo & Mines

Posted by Irina Tabakina

T&T Salvage continues to support shipowners with prompt, safe and cost-effective solutions to complex salvage, wreck removal, and anti-pollution challenges.  A comprehensive management team, with an average of 26 years in the industry, has quickly propelled T&T as a leader to top-level shipping and offshore players.  This team includes a diverse group of industry leaders including Salvage Masters, Project Managers, Master Mariners, Insurance Managers, USCG officers, Fleet Superintendents, and HSEQ experts, thus providing a package of experience ready to provide total service.
On the hardware side, T&T boasts one of the most extensive response networks in the world. Prepositioned throughout the Americas, Singapore and Hamburg, the company owns and maintains an inventory of fast-response firefighting systems, inert gas generators, nitrogen generators, high capacity pumps, ship-to-ship (STS) systems, anti-pollution and diving systems. These specialized portable assets are complemented by a global network of tugs and support vessels ready to meet any emergency challenge.  In response to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), T&T embarked into a campaign to develop the best casualty response system in the United States.   As a result, T&T estimates it garnered more than 60% of the tank vessel market, including most vessel operating oil majors.   The system has already been successfully put to the test more than 30 times. Last year, T&T Salvage and its strategic response partner, Cabras Marine, successfully refloated a 17,000 ton fully cellular containership that went aground near Micro Beach in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. The prompt action of the Hamburg based vessel owners resulted in the immediate activation of their OPA 90 Vessel Response Plan (VRP) and T&T Salvage as its pre-contracted salvage provider.  Tugs, pollution response gear, specialty pumping gear and a 12-strong T&T-Cabras Marine team was dispatched to manage the salvage operation. What began as a typical grounding response quickly turned into anything but when the initial dive survey turned up a World War II era torpedo and unexploded mines around the vessel.  The salvage operations were immediately suspended and the vessel crew was evacuated until an Explosives Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team could be activated to assess the risk. Upon inspection of the casualty site, the EOD team made the initial determination that the devices did not pose a serious threat; however, there was yet another twist in store for the salvage team as severe weather was now approaching the island and threatening the vessel. Salvage Master, Albert Dai, knew a refloating attempt needed to be made immediately. With no time to waste and with the support and agreement of the Unified Command led by the USCG Federal On-Scene Coordinator, the Salvage Plan was promptly approved by the Unified Command.  The Salvage team and vessel crew quickly returned to the vessel, and after reducing the ground reaction, the vessel was safely maneuvered to deep water with the assistance of three tugs. Oil Spill Response Operating Company (OSROCo) also had personnel and equipment on standby for immediate response, in the event of any oil spill during the refloating process.  Once afloat, the vessel was shifted to a safe berth where an underwater inspection of the hull was carried out. There were no injuries and no pollution during this potentially dangerous operation. “This was not your usual walk in the park…the USCG provided outstanding support leading to a positive outcome,” said T&T’s Project Manager DeeAnn Ebanks. T&T Salvage, is a member of Teichman Group, committed to serving the emergency response needs of the shipping and energy industries under the highest standards of safety and quality.     


(As published in the February 2015 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News -                     

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 22,  Feb 2015

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Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.