TSAVLIRIS SALVAGE GROUP - News & Announcements

Wave of winter LOF contracts underlines TSAVLIRIS' global readiness - 2005 Dec 20

Ten Lloyd's Open Form contracts in the last quarter of the year ensured that the TSAVLIRIS SALVAGE GROUP once again was the largest LOF contractor worldwide in 2005. Operations handled during the latter stages of the year spanned the globe and underlined the group's readiness to deal effectively with all types of marine casualties.


In a particularly challenging operation that lasted for most of December, TSAVLIRIS was engaged to salve the 1,000 TEU container vessels "CP VALOUR" that ran aground in the Azores during bad winter weather. Arriving from permanent salvage station in Ponta Delgada, the salvage tug "FOTIY KRYLOV" made a number of refloating attempts but these were unsuccessful as the casualty was hard aground with her double bottoms flooded. Prior to further refloating efforts, the site was dredged and the vessel was prepared for pressurizing.


To minimize pollution, the salvors contracted a tanker from Gibraltar to remove the remaining bunkers from the casualty and although the removal operation started immediately after the tanker's arrival on December 20, the transfer could not be completed due to a sharp deterioration of the weather. Salvors had also mobilised a geared multipurpose vessel to lighter containers from the casualty but in Christmas storms the "CP VALOUR's" condition deteriorated rapidly, forcing the boarding team to abandon the casualty for safety reasons. During the next inspection, the ship was found to have lost almost all buoyancy, and had a significant list to starboard. Refloating by conventional means was no longer a possibility, nor was lightering an option, so the lightering vessel was released.


Priority was now given to three deck containers with hazardous cargo which posed a significant environmental threat if lost or damaged. A Hazardous Material Handling Team of five from the Netherlands was organised to handle the goods and a dismantled "KAMOV-32" helicopter was brought by transport from Bucharest to the Azores and reassembled. All dangerous cargo was successfully and safely unpacked onboard the casualty, airlifted to shore by the Kamov (for heavy items) and a Portuguese Puma (for lighter parcels), and repacked without incident, despite atrocious weather and sea conditions. After removal of the hazardous goods, the "KAMOV-32" also played a vital role in completion of efforts to remove all pumpable bunkers from the casualty. In a continuous operation, bunkers were pumped into portable tanks, airlifted to shore where they were transported by road to the port, discharged into the tanker and airlifted back to the casualty for refilling. This, too, was completed on New Year's Eve and TSAVLIRIS was demobilised, with the casualty becoming subject to a wreck removal contract.


While TSAVLIRIS' salvage team was still engaged on the operation to free the "CP VALOUR", three new LOF contracts were signed in the space of just one week in mid-December. Among the casualties successfully salved was the 40,000 dwt chemical/product tanker "ANTONIS A", immobilized during a transit of the Suez Canal after sustaining heavy contact damage at her bow and her rudder. TSAVLIRIS dispatched the salvage tug "MEGAS ALEXANDROS" from Piraeus and hired local tugs, workboats and teams of divers and fitters for the extensive underwater repairs that were required. These were carried out over a period of 10 days and were completed in January, followed by sea trials, after which the "MEGAS ALEXANDROS" towed the tanker to Mersin for cargo discharge. Τhe casualty was subsequently towed to Piraeus.


Other successes in December included the refloating of the bulk carrier "MOUNT ATHOS", which ran aground in the Orinoco River during a voyage with 26,000 tonnes of iron briquettes. Two local tugs were mobilized from Puerto Ordaz and a salvage team dispatched for the operation, which freed the vessel in a few days using a combination of scouring and pulling. In the Caribbean, two tugs were dispatched from Martinique and Port of Spain, together with divers and welding gear, to assist the 16,270 dwt general cargo vessel "STEEL TRADER". The vessel, that was immobilized in ballast condition about 20 miles north of Barbados, was towed by a first tug to Kingstown where a second tug took over the operation, its five-strong team of divers performing temporary repairs on the rudder and securing it amidships. The casualty was then towed to Curacao.


Highlights of the three-month period until the end of 2005 also included TSAVLIRIS' late-November salvage under a LOF (with SCOPIC) of the cargo vessel "MOBY DICK", abandoned in the Aegean Sea in bad weather after her cargo hold began flooding. The salvage tug "MEGAS ALEXANDROS" was mobilized from Piraeus and towed the vessel to Levitha Island, where she was anchored, patched and pumped dry. The casualty, which was on a voyage from Odessa to Beirut with a cargo of steel pipes, was later towed to Rhodes for redelivery to her owners.


During a busy period for casualties in the Aegean, a 4,200 dwt chemical/oil carrier, "STAINLESS DOLPHIN", ran aground north of Evia Island while on a voyage to Syria laden with 2,000 tonnes of sunflower oil. TSAVLIRIS immediately dispatched "MEGAS ALEXANDROS" and "NESTOR", together with a salvage master and diving team. After performing patching and dewatering on site, and transferring cargo and bunkers that were onboard, the casualty was successfully refloated and afterwards taken to Stylida for further patching.


At about the same time, the 4,700 dwt cargo ship "SEA HAWK 2" had run aground on a reef north of the island of Lesvos while on a voyage carrying wheat and barley from Constantza to Larnaca. TSAVLIRIS mobilized the salvage tug "MEGAS ALEXANDROS" from Piraeus together with a salvage team and lightering equipment. A small vessel was also chartered from Izmir for lightering of about 1,000 tonnes of barley of vacuvator. After lightering and removal of bunkers, the casualty was successfully refloated and taken to Lesvos. Following extensive underwater repairs and patching to the satisfaction of the authorities and class, the casualty and balance cargo were delivered to Lesvos. Eventually, lightened cargo was transferred by salvors to its destination in Larnaca.


When the scheduled ro-ro passenger ferry "IERAPETRA L" grounded on October 9th off the port entrance of Rhodes, TSAVLIRIS responded the same day, mobilizing the salvage tug "MEGAS ALEXANDROS" from Piraeus and another ro-ro ferry, "VITSENTZOS KORNAROS" from Alexandroupolis. The replacement ferry was moored stern to stern and ramp to ramp with the casualty and the 37 vehicles onboard were discharged, while bunkers from the casualty were also transferred. Patching, pumping and pressurizing were performed, and the casualty was pulled afloat by the "MEGAS ALEXANDROS" with the assistance of local port tugs before being taken to the port of Rhodes for further patching and underwater repairs, followed by towage on to Piraeus.