Boskalis Annual Report 2020
rescue. We mobilized several firefighting vessels. In anticipation of the various international corona regulations, we put together a large, international salvage team from our branches in South Africa, Singapore and the Netherlands. Our priority was to make sure the vessel remained intact and afloat, and to stop the spread of the fire.” HUGE OPERATION After the fire had been put out, the New Diamond was towed by our oceangoing tug BOKA Expedition, and escorted by a multipurpose vessel, to an anchorage near the port of Kalba in the United Arab Emirates. “Because of the water used to extinguish the fire, the stern was low in the water and getting permission to anchor somewhere with a vessel in such a condition is far from straightforward,” explains Zonneveld. “Fortunately, after the necessary preparations and discussions with the competent authorities, we received that permission, among other things because we had built up a good relationship with them when we anchored at the same location with the tanker Front Altair that we salvaged in 2019.” It was a huge operation to pump all the oil out of the tanks of the very large vessel. Additional pumping equipment was mobilized from the Boskalis distribution center in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands. Salvage divers checked the condition of the hull and closed a number of holes. An oil boom was also placed around the ship to prevent environmental damage as a result of leaks. “All of the New Diamond’s systems were burnt out so we needed to use external sources for all the work and all the efforts to create and maintain a safe environment to work in,” Zonneveld says. SHIP-TO-SHIP The ‘over the top’ ship-to-ship operation, i.e. the transfer of the cargo to the two mobilized oil tankers, is a specialist job. “Our naval architects had done a lot of hard work to calculate the necessary input for the pumping plan, which we launched in mid-November. During the pumping, we also had to make sure that the oxygen level in the holds was maintained at the right, low, level to prevent explosions. In this case, we introduced inert gas, which is normally supplied by the vessel but was now supplied by mobile installations. We then emptied the tanks using a controlled procedure so as not to stress the hull too much. A team of around thirty colleagues was involved in the project and their work was made a lot more difficult by the COVID-19 protocols and regulations. “It took a very long time to relieve the first team of salvors who had been working without a break for many weeks,” says Zonneveld. “I am enormously impressed by the motivation and perseverance of my colleagues.” Mid-January 2021, the salvage team had transferred the entire cargo to the two mobilized oil tankers after which the team started with the removal of the cargo residues from the vessel’s tanks and piping on board. Furthermore, all the firefighting water was offloaded to be treated at designated facilities on shore.
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