Mammoet Salvage to use portal cranes to remove wreck in Africa

25 April 2008

Terms have been agreed for Mammoet Salvage to remove the wreck of the Liberian container ship, Safmarine Agulhas, which ran aground and broke in half in June off the South African port of East London.

The vessel’s insurers called for tenders to dismantle and remove the wreckage quickly, safely, professionally and, in particular, with consideration for the environment. A factor in Mammoet Salvage winning the contract was that it will use three self-propelled heavy portal cranes owned by Mammoet Southern Africa, based near East London. It is an illustration of “the many advantages afforded by joining the forces of heavy lifting technology with expertise in salvaging maritime wreckage,” according to Mammoet Salvage.

Work has started on modifying the breakwater where the ship ran aground. A track is being installed on the breakwater for the three portal cranes, each with a lifting capacity of 450 tonnes, which will allow the cranes to change position while carrying out the necessary lifting activities. Among others, this includes removing some 100 containers still onboard.

The ship’s accommodation and superstructure above the waterline will be dismantled and removed using the portal cranes. Next, the forward section of the ship and the stern will be drawn ashore using a Mammoet pulling system. May 2007 is the target for completion as severe weather can follow.

Mammoet Salvage, headquartered in the Netherlands, has completed 10 salvage operations since the company was started on 1 January 2006. Salvaging the 16,800 (gross) tonne Safmarine Agulhas container ship is the most extensive and specialized job yet for Mammoet Salvage, the company said.

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