Video: How They Removed 1,400 Cars and A Sunken Ship From the Bottom of the Sea

Video: How They Removed 1,400 Cars and A Sunken Ship From the Bottom of the Sea

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Last updated on October 2nd, 2021 at 05:49 pm

Baltic Ace was a car carrier, a roll-on/roll-off ship designed to transport vehicles in a large, fully enclosed garage-like superstructure running the entire length and width of the vessel. She had eight cargo decks with a minimum free height of 2 metres (6.6 ft). 

On 5 December 2012, Baltic Ace, a 148-metres (486 ft) long and 25-metres (82 ft) wide car carrier collided with the Cyprus-registered container ship Corvus J in the North Sea while underway from Zeebrugge, Belgium, to Kotka, Finland with a cargo of about 1,400 Mitsubishi cars likely headed to the Russian market. The incident took place some 40–50 kilometres (25–31 miles) off the Dutch coast south of Rotterdam on one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world at 18:15 GMT. According to a representative of the shipping company, the cause of the accident was likely a human error.

After the collision, Baltic Ace began taking on water, capsized and sank within 15 minutes in shallow waters. According to the ship’s manager, Corvus J likely hit Baltic Ace on the side, where void tanks forming a double side are only 1.3 metres (4.3 ft) wide, quickly flooding the cargo decks. Corvus J was severely damaged and her bulbous bow was bent, but she was not in danger of sinking and participated in the search for survivors.

The weather conditions, three-metre waves and snow, made the rescue operation difficult. As the search for survivors resumed on the following day, five members of the 24-person crew had been confirmed dead and six were still missing. Thirteen crew members, including the ship’s Polish captain, were winched to safety from liferafts by helicopters or picked up by nearby ships. According to Netherlands Coast Guard, the chance of finding more survivors was “virtually zero” and the search for the missing crew members, who might have been trapped inside the wreck, was called off on the day following the accident.

The number of casualties was at last confirmed, when 11 Crew members were reported as dead.

After the sinking, a number of news reports featured a photograph of a sunken vessel incorrectly identified as Baltic Ace. The similarly-colored wreck, visible through the surface in shallow water, was in fact Asia Malaysia, a Philippine ferry that sank in 2011.

Salvage Operation

Resting at a depth of only 35 metres (115 ft) in the busy shipping lanes near the port of Rotterdam, with approximately 540,000 litres (140,000 US gal) of fuel oil remaining inside the hull, and more than 1,400 cars, the wreck of the Baltic Ace was both a danger to shipping and an environmental hazard.

In March 2014, Rijkswaterstaat awarded the contract for the complete removal of the sunken car carrier to the Dutch company Royal Boskalis Westminster and its partner Mammoet. Once all remaining oil had been removed from the wreck, the vessel was cut into 8 separate pieces using a cutting wire and raised from the seabed. The same method was previously used in the salvage of MV Tricolor, a car carrier that sank in the English Channel in 2002, and to remove the bow of the Russian submarine Kursk before the rest of the hull was raised.

Related- Video: Salvage Team Prepares To Cut The Capsized Golden Ray Ship In Pieces To Remove It

Here is a video of the courageous wreck removal operation of the Baltic Ace:

  1. A very e nviromental conscious project . I must thank each and everyone involved in the operation of clearing the seabed with thedebris…..God blesss everyone….

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