Salvage of sunken car carrier Tricolor – Worst Maritime Accidents

How many maritime accidents, apart from the irremediable cataclysm of the Titanic, have ever shocked the hell out of you? How many of such incidents are you aware of? The world has witnessed too many of these disastrous fortuities that had been the most unfortunate ones to have brought dire consequences on the face of the earth.
For one and all, one can surely remember the infamous cargo ship accident of the MV Tricolor, the 50,000 tonne, £25.1 million ($39.9m) worth Norwegian-flagged vehicle carrier, esteemed for getting involved in three English Channel collisions within a fortnight, resulting in massive damage, marine pollution and probably the biggest loss in auto exporting industry.
No lives were lost as the crew but approximately 2,862 cars & 77 units of RoRo-cargo, consisting mainly tractors and crane parts, could not be salvaged.
These prioritized the rescue operation which was taken over by the Dutch company SMIT Salvage Co. t was reported that oil recovery operation from the wreck of M/V Tricolor has been completed, which was precisely the oil that can be safely reached & pumped. The salvage team spent 3 months splitting MV Tricolor wreck into 9 sections of 3000 Tonnes each ‘like cheese.’Sections of its hull were taken to Belgian port of Zeebrugge and all the luxurious cars, removed and destroyed.
Peter Holloway, managing director of London Offshore Consultants, said: “Essentially we couldn’t consider it a ship anymore, just a pile of scrap.”
The operation took over a year.
The challenges of the Tricolor salvage are compounded by its location: a crossroads of one of the world’s busiest sea lanes, between the Belgian and English coasts. Sea traffic and strong currents limit the salvage effort to eight hours a day compared with the Kursk wreck, on which Smit worked around the clock. Smit has from 150 to 200 people at the Tricolor site.
Smit’s assignment from the car manufacturers is a tough one: find every possible part. The companies prefer that not a single screw remain on the sea floor.
The reason is simple. Should a car part salvaged from the Tricolor wreck ever find its way into a car in the United States and malfunction, its manufacturer could conceivably face liability claims.
BMW, which lost about 300 cars in the Tricolor wreck, is adamant that that not happen.
That is why Smit — in conjunction with the carmakers and insurance companies — decided against a burial at sea for all of those BMWs, Volvos and Saabs that sank.
Besides the heavy loss on economy including the estimated operation cost of around £25m, it contributed a lot to marine pollution and environmental contamination by spilling large quantity of oil, which were believed to have affected seabirds. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds estimated more than 1,000 birds to have been found dead or damaged by the oil of MV Tricolor.
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Video resource: SMIT Salvage | Towage

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