On Monday, salvage efforts began for the wrecks of the bulker Flinterstar off Belgium and the product tanker Siteam Anja off the coast of Uruguay.
The Flinterstar salvage effort has been delayed by foul weather since last October. Early that month, she went aground on a sandbank off the coast of Zeebrugge after a collision with the tanker Al-Oraiq. Her position is near "one of the busiest shipping routes in Europe, like the shoulder of a highway," said Belgium's Secretary of State Philippe De Backer. A combined team comprised of salvors from Herbosch-Kiere NV, Jan De Nul NV Dredging International NV and Scaldis Salvage & Marine Contractors NV began work Monday.
"For our economy, this is good news. The wreck has meant we've put a speed limit nearby and even a no-go zone for pleasure and fishing boats. That will soon no longer be necessary," De Backer said.
An investigation into the cause of the collision and grounding is ongoing.
Off Lobos Island, Uruguay, the work of lightering and refloating the product tanker Siteam Anja is getting under way. The Anja went aground following an engine casualty May 17, eight km from the resort area of Punta del Este. She has suffered a breach in the double bottom, confirmed by commercial divers, but no spill has been reported. The Anja is carrying a cargo of vegetable oil, and the government has reassured the local population that (aside from her bunkers) her contents are biodegradable and pose no hazard. No spill has been reported.
American company T&T Salvage has been contracted to perform the work, Uruguay's navy said. The navy is preparing an effort to lighter the Anja's vegetable oil cargo: "The maneuver is complex and must be done with extreme caution because there is little depth alongside," said navy spokesman Gaston Jaunsolo, speaking to El Diario Pais.
The tanker Sealion is on scene to perform the lightering, and officials say that her relatively shallow draft (four meters) will give an adequate safety margin to perform the work.
The Anja's wreck is also attended by the tugs VB Gladiator and Arriero, the support vessel Audax II and the SAR vessel Nauti2.
The total cost of her salvage is estimated to run in the range of $20 million.