File Photo: The Bahamas-flagged car carrier, Baltic Ace.
The Dutch Government is getting ready to award the final salvage contract for the complete removal of the sunken Baltic Ace car carrier that continues to pose a threat to the environment and ships entering the port of Rotterdam.
Dutch maritime service provider Royal Boskalis Westminster said Thursday that the Dutch Department of Public Works intends to award the contract to Boskalis and its partner Mammoet Salvage by the end of March. Boskalis said that the salvage would begin within 2014 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
The Baltic Ace capsized and sank on December 5, 2012 within about 15 minutes of colliding with a containership just south of the beginning of the Eurogeul, a busy deepwater shipping lane leading to the port of Rotterdam. The incident killed 11 of the 24 crewmembers, including five who are still missing.
The vessel was estimated to be carrying 466 tons of heavy fuel oil, 55 tons of marine diesel and approximately 1,400 cars when it sank and is believed to be resting just 6 meters below the surface. Immediately following the incident the Dutch Government hired Svitzer to remove the fuel oil from the vessel. Later in June 2013, a Coast Guard overflight observed an oil sheen believed to be coming from the sunken ship.
The scope of the work will include the removal of the entire wreckage, its cargo and approximately 540,000 liters of fuel oil. Boskalis said that the work will be carried out using a diving support vessel, tugs, barges and sheerlegs, as well as equipment from a SMIT joint venture, Asian Lift and the Boskalis subsidiary, Dockwise.
The sinking of the Baltic Ace reignited the debate over the safety of Roll On Roll Off (RoRo) vessels due to their large open cargo areas as opposed to a hull that is divided into separate holds by means of watertight bulkheads.
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