The wreck was a Chinese barge that had been used during the Port’s construction, and that had subsequently sunk in adverse weather less than 50 meters off the port quayside. The proximity of the wreck to the quay caused a navigational hazard for shipping, and so SG SALVAGE was contracted to refloat the barge and tow it into safe water.
The barge (before being sunk!)
The sunken barge was originally constructed from 2 pontoon barges, each 40m long, 10m wide and 2m deep, carrying a huge 38m gantry crane. Each pontoon weighed over 200 tons and had partly sunk into the soft sediment on the seabed 24 meters deep after it had capsized.
The huge size and weight of the barge, together with the ‘stiction’ (suction) effect of the mud, meant SG Salvage had to employ a huge amount of lift in order to break the barge free from the sediment and lift it to the surface. To do this, 250 tons of specialist Air Lift Bags were used, together with ultrathermic cutting equipment to remove the gantry crane and other sundry parts of the wreck.
Over 200 tons of Air Lift Bags were attached to each half of the wreck
Lifting part of the 38m gantry using 5 ton Air Lift Bags
Once each half of the wreck had been lifted, it was towed and re-sunk at two different sites to make 2 artificial reefs. Already both reefs have attracted a multitude of different species of fish including emperor, snapper, barracuda, lionfish, scorpion fish, stone fish, sweet lips and mackerel.
Schools of Barracuda cruise the new artificial reefs
This latest task adds to over 10 years of experience SG has providing vital commercial diving services to the maritime industry including salvage, hull surveys, hull maintenance & cleaning, and search & recovery operations.
Tadjourah Port is a newly completed project by Djibouti Port Authority that cost over 78 million USD to build. It can accommodate two 65,000 DWT vessels with a 12-15m draft at its 2 linear 455m quays, and will provide an important boost to the economy of Djibouti.
SG would like to thank all its crew and employees whose dedication and loyalty helped make this project a success, and we look forward to continued growth in this high-demand, specialist area.
The first half of the wreck breaks the surface