Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, September 25, 2012 -- Following six weeks of intensive operations in often challenging conditions, RESOLVE Salvage & Fire announced the removal of the first 600 tons of steel from the bow section of the Rena wreck off Tauranga, New Zealand. RESOLVE has been removing the wreck piece by piece using helicopters and a transport barge at a safe distance from the reef. Due to the precarious position of the wreck’s bow on the Astrolabe Reef, and the nationwide concern in New Zealand over the potential for additional damage to the reef during salvage operations, RESOLVE’s methodology using helicopters was chosen from a number of other proposals.
RESOLVE’s Rena Salvage Master Frank Leckey said, “We now have our team of divers from the U.S. and our RMG 280 crane barge from Singapore for the underwater phase of wreck removal, now that the seas are expected to be calmer with the seasonal change. The crane barge can access the bow from deep water, far enough away to avoid the reef but close enough to lift the cut sections from the wreck onto a barge. The crane can remove much larger pieces than the helicopters, –up to 30 tons -- so we have helicopter, crane and underwater dive operations all underway simultaneously.”
Strong winds and high seas up to six meters had interrupted the salvage operation on more than one occasion. According to Leckey, when seas are three meters or higher, the salvors must suspend operations to ensure the safety of the team. Leckey said, “The wreck lies at a 34-degree angle. Combine that with significant movement when the wind or seas pick up and you have a dangerous situation. We have a full time health and safety officer monitoring all aspects of the operation.”
Resolve hopes to be able to reduce the wreck to a point where it is no longer visible on the water, by early 2013.
RESOLVE Salvage & Fire is the U.S. subsidiary of RESOLVE Marine Group, Inc., a worldwide leader in marine salvage and wreck removal, emergency response, firefighting, OPA-90 emergency response, maritime safety and simulation training and a wide range of marine services including naval architecture and marine engineering. RESOLVE recently completed the removal of the OBERON LPG carrier wreck from the Taiwan Strait. In 2011, RESOLVE completed the removal of 10 vessel wrecks in Kankesanthurai Harbour in northern Sri Lanka, and the removal of the Angeln container vessel wreck from the shipping channel at Vieux Fort, St. Lucia. In 2010, RESOLVE responded to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and managed a massive, six-month oil spill cleanup operation spanning locations throughout the Gulf of Mexico. In response to the U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990, RESOLVE established itself as a leading primary resource provider of Salvage & Marine Firefighting services for tanker and non- tank vessels trading in U.S. waters. RESOLVE is a joint venture partner in Shanghai Resolve-Shengmin OSRO Company, a leading Ship Pollution Response Organization (SPRO) serving the international shipping industry in China waters. For more information about RESOLVE Marine Group and its subsidiaries visit www.resolvemarine.com.
See Photos below. Additional and high resolution photos available upon request.
Above: A technician cuts and removes side shell sections at the prow. The helicopter above and outside the photo frame has a line attached to the piece being cut. The helipad was erected on the prow to facilitate access.
Above: An early cutting operation on the side shell. Sparks from the cutting torch are visible at the center of the image. Team members are standing by and the line from the helicopter is attached and ready to lift the piece away from the wreck as it is cut free.
Above: Rena bow week of September 10
Above: Air lift operations underway in mid August. A helicopter picks up oxygen bottles for transport to the salvage team on board the Rena, for the cutting operations. Cut sections of the Rena lie on the transport barge for later removal from the site.