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Resolve refloats cement carrier off pristine beaches of Oman allowing no damage to the environment
The USA-based emergency response and salvage specialist Resolve Marine Group has completed the complicated wreck removal of the bulk cement carrier MV Raysutt II, which grounded in Oman off the pristine beaches of Al-Fazayah Beach, Salalah.
Resolve says it was chosen for the project because of its plan to refloat her in one piece, limiting environmental damage.
Al-Fazayah Beach is a unique tourist spot which is known for the nesting of endangered sea turtles. The partially loaded Raysutt II departed the Port of Salalah in May of last year when the port was evacuated due to adverse weather conditions. The vessel lost headway and steerage and subsequently grounded on Al-Fazayah Beach on 26 May 2018.
The grounding was devastating to the tourist community and locals as the five kilometres long landscape is home to five of the world’s seven species of sea turtle, four of which nest there – the green turtle, the hawksbill, the loggerhead and the olive ridley. All of Oman’s turtles have been classified as endangered with the loggerhead turtle facing extinction. “Resolve’s goal was to protect the environment and avoid disturbance of the beaches during turtle nesting season,” the company says.
At the time of the grounding, the vessel was laden with approximately 6750 tonnes of dry powdered cement. After the initial responder’s failed attempt to refloat during the monsoon season, she was defuelled and declared as a CTL (constructive total loss). As a result, in November 2018 Resolve Marine Group was awarded the contract for removal and disposal of the vessel and cargo. After being awarded the contract Resolve mobilised its crane barge RMG 1000 and Resolve Monarch from Singapore, two of the company’s specialty owned salvage and wreck removal support vessels.
The assets arrived in Salalah in early January, and the vessel was successfully patched up and refloated with cargo on board in early February 2019 by the Resolve team. This was determined to be the most environmentally sound method to carry out the operation. “The other methods proposed by salvors such as cutting in situ would have posed considerable delays,” says Resolve. “The government was averse to the possibility of operations progressing into the next monsoon season when weather conditions would have made operations more challenging and threatening to the environment.”
The vessel was towed by the Resolve Monarch to the Port of Salalah where the bulk of the cargo was discharged by Resolve. The vessel cement pumping system had to be reactivated and modified so that the cement cargo could be directly discharged into closed road tankers to avoid dust pollution. Special airlifts were designed by Resolve to discharge the holds where the cargo was partially solidified and could not be pumped directly.
For the voyage, seven submersible pumps were set up in the engine room and cargo void spaces with automatic start-up activated by a high-level sensor. The feed was sent to the towing vessel by WiFi so that salvors could monitor the status of vessel remotely. “This system has been entirely conceptualised and fabricated in-house and onsite,” says the company.
The vessel was successfully delivered on 11 April and subsequently recycled.