Emergency Response operations

Over the past decades the Spliethoff Group has acted on more than one emergency response call. Our global presence and large fleet makes us highly flexible and able to provide the right vessel for the job in hand at any time.

Although we are not a salvage company, our excellent personnel and our fleet of multipurpose and heavy lift vessels are often able to offer assistance in a wide range of Emergency Response related work. When the call comes, our team can think out of the box, and together with our client come up with the best solution for challenging circumstances. In the past year, we saw a number of extraordinary activities, be they offshore cargo lightering operations, wreck removal or emergency lifting operations. We are happy to present you a number of recent actions where we were able to lend a hand.

Salvage operation m.v. Happy Sky and m.v. Parkgracht

Mid November 2020 BigLift received a call from a Brazilian Terminal Operator who asked our assistance. They informed us that one of their ship unloaders, at their bauxite terminal in Vila do Condo, had suffered a rupture in the upper chord of the boom and that bending and cracks were observed in the two lower chords. At that point, the crane arm and chute were resting on top of a pile of Bauxite inside the hold of a bulk carrier, while the counter weight of 350 mt was 33 metres up in the air on the opposite site of the pier. All this was moving vertically with the tide coming in and going out, making the situation extremely unsafe and deteriorating steadily. The forces released if the crane arm would break were difficult to calculate. After assessing the situation, we came to the conclusion that our heavy lift vessels m.v. Happy Sky and m.v. Parkgracht could provide the assistance that was needed to stabilize and recover the situation. Within short, the decision was made to mobilize both vessels from North/Central USA. At the same time, a salvage plan was developed. On the pier side, the counterweights needed supporting. Due to her excellent lifting height, m.v. Happy Sky was positioned next to the counter weights, which were then “landed” in a specially made frame on top of a stable table, high up in Happy Sky’s cranes, where they rested until further notice.

At the same time m.v. Parkgracht moored alongside the bulk carrier and connected to the chute leaning inside the bulk carrier. These moves stabilized the situation, whereupon the Salvors could start dismantling the crane. The counterweight slabs needed to be removed first. As they were welded together, a team of rope access workers on a cherry picker first had to separate the slabs, sothat a shore crane could then lift off the pieces one at the time. Once the counterweight had been dismantled, a diamond cutter wire was used to separate the crane arm from the chute, and m.v. Parkgracht loaded the freed scrap into her hold awaiting further instructions. When all was said and done, m.v. Happy Sky had set a record for performing a non-stop tandem lift for more than 600 hours by keeping the counterweight high to compensate for the tide. Due to our flexibility, state of the art equipment and skilled personnel we managed to bring back a safe environment on the terminal in Vila do Conde, and make a very happy client.

Crane jib m.v. Sevilla

Container feeder m.v. Sevillia’s crane 1 jib tore from its crane housing and was left dangling over the side of the ship on its wires, with the end sticking in the water just above the seabed, and the hook even stuck in the seabed. Since m.v. Pietersgracht was only 170 nm away from San Lorenzo, Honduras, BigLift was contracted to recover the Jib, crane hook and wires. Salvage operations commenced when m.v. Pietersgracht came ‘’alongside’’ m.v. Sevillia, keeping some 20 metres distance and mooring with one anchor to starboard and one long head line port side to the quay. The operation started with hooking on the crane block, which lay on the seabed, and local divers cutting the hoisting wires underwater. Once these wires were cut, m.v. Pietersgracht lifted the hook from the water and landed it on its passageway. Then the jib could be hooked on with cranes 2 and 3, so that the jib’s luffing wires could be cut to take the tension off. Finally, the jib was lifted and moved away from m.v. Sevillia. Rounding it off, m.v. Pietersgracht safely discharged the jib, the hook and the wires onto the quay.