SEWOL – Successful Recovery
TMC continued with their on-going assistance to MOF (Korean Ministry of Oceans & Fisheries) in their recovery of the hull of SEWOL in one piece, and on 23 March 2017 in good weather conditions and near neap tidal strengths, the contractors SSC (Shanghai Salvage) successfully completed the side-lift of SEWOL to the surface using 2 x lift barges fitted out with 66 x 350t strand-jack units attached to 33 x underside beams. In a delicate operation which took over 27 hours to complete the ascent to the surface went smoothly.
Once on the surface at the designed 60% emerged position (13.5m above water), drainage of the hull took place in order to reduce weight. The following day on the 24th of March, with the good weather continuing, the convoy of barges + SEWOL were gently towed by a flotilla of 7 x tugs and floated over the 72,000t semi-sub vessel WHITE MARLIN some 3 miles away. Once in position, WHITE MARLIN de-ballasted to the design position and gradually took the weight of SEWOL. By 2353hrs on the 24th of March, the full weight of SEWOL was on the semi-sub vessel. When fully de-ballasted the strand-jack wires were dis-connected and the barges departed.
Several days were spent draining the water and mud from the hull of SEWOL, in total several thousands of tonnes were drained. On 31st March 2017 arrangements were completed in Mokpo New Port and SEWOL, loaded on the deck of WHITE MARLIN, made her way through the islands of South-west Korea to her allocated berth. SEWOL arrived alongside where the Families of the deceased were waiting to greet the vessel.
On the 9th of April, 600 axles of trailers for load-in of SEWOL to the quayside at Mokpo new port were arranged and the hull successfully delivered on to the quayside, thus completing the delivery of the hull in a single piece, as required by the Korean authorities.
SEWOL Wreck Removal started in August 2015 and continues with bow lift planned for early May 2016, and side lift onto Floating Dock on site in August.
The bow lift will be carried out by SSC using a combination of ship’s own tanks for buoyancy, air bags/pontoons and surface lift by DALIHAO 1250T floating crane.
Earlier this year, TMC travelled to Shanghai to witness the largest single-boom floating crane lift of 12,000T which will be used for the side lift of the single hull in August. The full 13200T proof load test was previously carried out on this new-building which is classed by CCS.
TMC continue to provide technical support, including a full time on-site presence, to the Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) in connection with removal of the SEWOL. Since the award of the contract to Shanghai Salvage in August 2015, a number of significant milestones have been passed which include detailed internal and external surveys, removal of oil completed on 25th October 2015, and installation of safety nets over windows and doors.
As of 8th December 2015 Shanghai Salvage has carried out 1,000 dives on the job, a very impressive total.
Following on from TMC’s involvement in this case in 2014 for the Korean Government, TMC has been advising the Korean Government on the technical aspects of the single piece recovery from the seabed, near to Jin-do, south-west Korea. This complex project is expected to take until July 2016 to complete. Following an International Tender the Korean Government has selected Shanghai Salvage Co. to undertake the recovery project. Work on-site is expected to start by late August 2015.
TMC has been invited back to Korea to assist the government review the on-going situation with respect to the sunken ro-ro passenger vessel SEWOL. The Korean government announced on November 11th that the search for bodies was being suspended.
TMC has been instructed by the Korean government on the tragic sinking of the ro-ro passenger vessel SEWOL, to advise on the wreck removal process. TMC Managing Director Stephen Tierney, who travelled out to Korea comments: “TMC extends our deepest sympathies to the families of the bereaved, and to the Korean people as a whole, for this tragedy and our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time. We will do our best to assist the Korean government with any advice they may require”.