Boskalis provides services relating to marine salvage and wreck removal. We assist vessels in distress and are able to spring into action at anytime and anywhere in the world. We are able to do so by operating out of four locations which are strategically situated along the main international shipping routes: Houston, Cape Town, Rotterdam and Singapore. The removal of shipwrecks or damaged offshore platforms almost always takes place at locations where the wreck forms an obstruction to traffic or presents an environmental hazard. We have the advanced technology and expertise needed to remove hazardous substances such as heavy fuel oil from wrecks and boast a successful track record in salvaging vessels and platforms under challenging circumstances. Wrecked or damaged ships can release oil, lubricants or other potentially harmful substances into the marine environment. In our role we actively support ship owners, insurance companies, terminal operators and classification societies to help prevent incidents and in case of accidents we prevent spills from happening by safely removing or containing such pollutants. We do this by giving emergency towing assistance, re-floating grounded vessels and removing polluting cargoes or fuel. When needed we also use pollution prevention and clean up techniques using booms, skimmers, absorbents and beach cleaning to remove pollutants from the environment. Our advanced technology means we can also apply complex interventions, for example, removing potentially polluting cargoes and bunker fuel from casualties and wrecks at great depth. We are expert at “hot tapping” to gain access to pollutants and to cleanly and safely remove them by drilling into the vessel from outside the hull. We can also use probes to extract the pollutants which might need heating to liquefy them in the cold surroundings of the deep ocean. In addition to saving life and property, protecting the marine and coastal environments is a key role of our salvage operations. Though our efforts, we protect economic value and avert environmental damage. Over the last 5 years, Salvage has on average had one case every 5 days and has prevented 1.9 million tons of (refined) oil products and 4.2 million tons of hazardous cargo from spilling in our oceans and seas.
STRENGTHENING OUR CONTRIBUTION: LIFE BELOW WATER
Our salvage operations contribute towards the delivery of the UN SDGs, in particular SDG Goal 14, life below water. To deliver on Goal 14 requires the prevention and significant reduction of marine pollution of all kinds. Over the last 5 years, our salvage operations has prevented significant amounts of pollutants from entering the marine environment. It is therefore our target to prevent any oil (products), pollutants and hazardous cargo from salvaged vessels from entering into marine ecosystems.
Averting environmental disaster in the Gulf of Oman In 2019 we completed a successful salvage operation for two tankers after they were under a suspected attack in the Gulf of Oman. A chemical tanker, which had a cargo of 25,000 tons of methanol was safely salvaged to the port of Kalba in the United Arab Emirates. An oil products tanker had a major fire onboard and was carrying 75,000 tons of a highly flammable refined hydrocarbon mix, naphtha. The naphtha tanker was in international waters during the incident and was drifting rudderless towards the open sea. Once the fire had been put out by our fire-fighting intervention, our experts stabilized the casualty, re-established the inert condition of the cargo and used the AHTS BOKA Alpine to tow the vessel to Kalba, United Arab Emirates. In addition to the safe recovery of both vessels, the work of our salvage crew prevented the potential release of 100,000 tons of harmful chemicals and refined oils into the marine environment, which could have constituted a major environmental disaster. Averting an oil spill in the USA In 2019, we responded to the capsizing of the car carrier “Golden Ray” in St Simons Sound, Georgia (USA). The vessel came to rest on its side at an angle of around 90 degrees in an ecologically sensitive area, known for its diverse wildlife. Most importantly, early on four missing crew members were freed from the wreck due to the joint efforts of the Coastguard and all incident responders. Subsequently our teams removed more than 300,000 gallons of bunker oil and oil/water mixture as reported by the Unified Command. These operations were conducted with the aim to significantly reduce the chance of any pollution and to minimize the impact of our activities on the marine environment and the community beyond the accident itself.