Smit Marine Salvage Operations

Video highlights from Salvage Code Red

Explore some of the biggest marine salvage jobs undertaken by Smit, a leading Dutch marine salvage company.

The salvage teams featured in Salvage Code Red can respond to a code red alert and get their teams to a stricken vessel anywhere in the world within twenty-four hours. We take a look at some recent salvage operations undertaken by salvage team Smit.

Emergency marine salvage is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

Smit, which is one of the salvage companies featured in National Geographic’s ‘Salvage Code Red,’ is one of the oldest salvage rescue companies in the world, with more than 165 years of service in the maritime sector. Over the years it has worked all over the globe on many sizes of vessels. But while the company may be best known for its part in salvaging the Riverdance ferry in Blackpool in 2008, featured in an upcoming episode of Salvage Code Red, Smit also responds to smaller, but no less dangerous and technically-complicated, salvage operations every month.

We take a look at some of their biggest salvage operations that they encountered in 2008.

Zhen Hua 10
2nd February – 5th February 2008

In February 2008, the heavy cargo vessel Zhen Hua 10, carrying five massive gantry cranes, grounded in heavy wind just outside Rotterdam, where Smit is based.

As soon as the salvage contract had been awarded to Smit, the company immediately deployed a Salvage Master via helicopter to assist the captain in the rescue operation. To lighten the vessel, the salvage crew removed some of her ballast. Using a powerful 220-ton oceangoing tug and three harbour tugs, the Smit team successfully refloated the Zhen Hua 10 during high tide on 5th February, 2008. A later inquiry into the incident suggested that the anchors and engine power of the Zhen Hua 10 may have been insufficient to cope with the “wind sensitive” high cranes, which towered high above the cargo decks and would have put additional strain on the ship in bad weather.

Sibulk Innovation
24th April 2008 – 5th May 2008

The bulk carrier Sibulk Innovation, en-route from India to China, was fully laden with bauxite when she collided with another tanker off the Singapore coast. The carrier suffered ruptures in two topside tanks and two cargo holds, the latter of which flooded on impact so that the vessel was under-water at the head. A Smit salvage team was immediately mobilised to the scene of the crash. After the extent of the damage was surveyed by Smit divers, the salvage team set about patching the vessel underwater. They then pumped all of the water out of Sibulks holds and eventually moved the ship, under its own power, to a secure anchorage point.

24th July 2008 – 3rd August 2008

In July 2008 the multi-purpose vessel Westernstar grounded in a shallow patch of sea off the Indonesian Coast, approximately 100 miles from Singapore. When Smit took on the salvage contract, parts of the ship were on fire and the entire engine room was flooded. Smit mobilised a salvage team, a work/diving barge, two tug boats and a diving support craft.

Upon arrival, the salvors found the fire under control and took anti-pollution measures, while the underwater diving team assessed the damage. After patching all the flooded compartments, Smit pumped the onboard water from the vessel and refloated the Westernstar. A tug then towed her to a Singapore shipyard for repairs.

12th September 2008 – 19th September 2008

Hurricane Ike caused considerable damage in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico during the Atlantic Hurricane season in September, 2008, and shipping was not immune from his wrath. After leaving Port Arthur in the USA, the Antalina suffered engine trouble in the Gulf of Mexico and was adrift 90 miles from the Texas shore, directly in the path of the approaching hurricane. An operation to rescue the crew aboard the vessel had to be called off by the US Coast Guard due to extreme weather conditions, which included six-meter-high waves, 80-knot winds and poor visibility. The Smit team was called in to rescue the ship and dispatched two specialised tug boats to bring the floundering ship to safety and avoid a potential disaster.

The Grandiosa
27th – 9th October, 2008

On 25th September the Grandiosa grounded on a sandbank in the Argentinian waters of Río Paraná. Several re-floating attempts by a local salvage company failed, and Smit was called in to rescue the stricken vessel.

The salvage team removed cargo to lighten the Grandiosa in preparation for refloating her away from the sandbank. Using a harbour tug from Buenos Aires and two pusher tugs the Smit team refloated the Grandiosa on 9th October. She was moved downriver and reloaded with cargo.

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