MV Flinterstar Bow Lifted from North Sea Off Belgium

Dutch freighter Flinterstar is seen sinking after colliding with Marshall Island-flagged tanker Al-Oraiq, which also suffered damage in the collision, in the North Sea off the Belgian coast October 6, 2015. REUTERS/Benny Proot
Dutch freighter Flinterstar is seen sinking after colliding with Marshall Island-flagged tanker Al-Oraiq, which also suffered damage in the collision, in the North Sea off the Belgian coast October 6, 2015. REUTERS/Benny Proot

The wreck removal of the Dutch freighter MV Flinterstar is underway in the North Sea off Belgium with salvage crews successfully lifting the bow section from the seabed earlier this week.

The operation to remove the wreck has been ongoing for the past 10 weeks as a consortium of Belgian marine contractors prepared the wreck for the lifting operation and mobilized equipment.

The wreck of the MV Flinterstar pictured June 24,  2016. Photo: Flinter
The wreck of the MV Flinterstar pictured June 24, 2016. Photo: Flinter

You may recall the MV Flinterstar sank after colliding with the Marshall Islands-flagged LNG carrier Al-Oraiq off the coast of Zeebrugge, Belgium on October 6, 2015, eventually coming to rest just below the surface in an upright position. The ship was declared a total loss and, after an operation to remove any remaining oil, the authorities ordered the full removal of the wreck as it posed a hazard to shipping and the environment.

For the removal operation, the consortium used the 3,300 tonne heavy lift crane barge Rambiz to lift the bow section and place it onto a barge for disposal.

The bow of the MV Flinterstar is lifted from the North Sea off Belgium, June 27, 2016. Photo: DEME Group

The consortium is be headed by SCALDIS, a joint company of DEME, Jan De Nul and Herbosch-Kiere.

“After being awarded the contract in April 2016, we immediately started the preparations and the mobilisation of the equipment to ensure a rapid response,” said Marc Voorhuis, Director at Scaldis. “Removing the cargo from the hold was the first step, whilst in parallel lifting chains were attached to the bow section of the Flinterstar. On 27 June 2016 all preparatory operations were finished and the lifting commenced.”

The stern of the ship is planned to be lifted and removed in August 2016.