Resolve Raises Sunken Derrick Barge DB1 from Gulf of Mexico, Setting New Salvage Lift Record in Americas

BD1 derrick barge removal
DB1 derrick barge removal. Photo: Resolve Marine

After several months of planning, engineering, and on-site preparations, Resolve Marine has successfully raised the sunken derrick barge DB1 from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The lift marked the heaviest salvage lift ever accomplished in the Americas.

From the outset, a one-piece lift of the DB1 represented the most environmentally-friendly method for removal compared with other proposals, such as cutting the barge into pieces.

The 350 ft by 100 ft derrick barge DB1 sank 30 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico on October 22nd, 2017, when adverse weather caused it to drag anchor and contact the offshore platform that the DB1 was engaged in removing. Multiple compartments were breached and the DB1 came to rest on the sea floor and on top of the platform jacket structure.

For the removal project, Resolve mobilized assets from its salvage bases around the world including from Singapore, Ft Lauderdale, and Mobile. Key project assets included Resolve’s patented heave-compensated chain puller lift system deployed from the Resolve CONQUEST MB1 1400 ton derrick barge and RMG 302 crane barge.

Resolve also mobilized a 40-person team of salvage experts and divers to support the 24/7 operation and engaged numerous support vessels and resources from the region.

After extensive preparations including the installation of heavy rigging under the DB1, the lifting gear was connected and the DB1 was steadily raised to the surface between the MB1 and RMG 302 with 6000 tons of lift force – an industry first.

Resolve then mobilized the BOABARGE 29, a semi-submersible barge to the offshore site to receive the DB1. On arrival, the BOABARGE 29 submerged to the seafloor and the DB1 was winched over the top with inches of margin. The submersible barge was then raised with the DB1 safely aboard and then towed to Brownsville, Texas, for DB1’s dismantling and recycling.

“Raising the DB1 was an extraordinary engineering and operations challenge and I am extremely proud of the entire project team.” stated Andy Butts, Resolve’s Salvage Master. “Special recognition is extended to our key support partners including Conquest Offshore, BOA Barges, Offshore Towing, Offshore Marine Contractors, Smith Maritime, Tradewinds Towing, and Oceaneering. We also thank the owner team of Turkey Offshore Project Solutions, QBE Insurance and London Offshore Consultants for choosing Resolve and for facilitating a smooth operation.”

A time-lapse of the salvage lift is below: