Subtech and the “Not So Smart”

Subtech and the “Not So Smart” by Neil Scott-Williams

It was my first day back in the office after four weeks away on vacation following the Kiani Satu Job. At 14h30 William Moore phones to say a bulker has lost power in the entrance to Richards Bay Port. Immediately I knew this was not a good thing! Without hesitating, I closed my computer and informed the team that I was leaving once again ( I suspect they all thought I was making an excuse to leave early!) As I drove north the disaster continued to develop.

On losing power the vessel veered to the north. The port tugs tried to attend to the vessel but were unable to make any difference to the fully laden bulker. Being completely powerless and in an 8m swell, she slowly began to run aground. Within 30 minutes of grounding, she  started to break up – cracking in 2 places.

Within minutes of this happening, Subtech was on site and offering assistance in its various forms. Due to our rapid response time and capacity on hand, SAMSA issued a directive to the owners. Following which, we were hired for the prevention of pollution resulting from the grounding. In true Subtech style, we had a team mobilised to the site within hours. Once on site, the team began assessing the casualty and planning the removal of all hydrocarbons and other potential pollutants. Due to the size and complexity of the salvage we entered into a Joint Venture with Smit. Thus forming an extremely effective partnership drawing maximum value from our respective skill sets.

The removal of hydrocarbons and pollutants went extremely well! The Subtech team did an outstanding job of removing approximately 2000 Tonnes of fuel and lubes. All of which was completed in a record time under and the most arduous conditions and without a single incident. As a result of this performance and demonstration of capacity, the JV was awarded the refloat and scuttling of the stern section. This phase of the contract was also executed in exemplary fashion with the stern being refloated and sunk on the 7th of October also under extreme conditions, 40 – 50knot winds and 7 – 8m swells.

Now that the pressure is off, the insurers have put the removal of the balance of the wreck out to tender. Currently, we are bidding against Mammoet and Titan for this work. We hope to hear the results of this process in the next few weeks!