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MASTER OF THE

SITUATION

When a ship gets into trouble somewhere on the globe and its owners call SVITZER for assistance, an elite team of salvage experts led by an experienced Salvage Master is assembled and dispatched in a matter of hours. A recent example is the case of EMMA MAERSK. 

On Friday 1 February 2013, EMMA MAERSK, one of the world’s largest container vessels, began taking in water through the forward stern thruster as she was steaming south through the Suez Canal. Having lost engine power, the vessel’s Captain and crew reacted swiftly and, with the assistance of the Suez Canal Authority, managed to get the ship to berth at the Suez Canal Container Terminal, Port Said, Egypt. Meanwhile at SVITZER Salvage Global Headquarters in IJmuiden, the Netherlands, Salvage Master, Bram Sperling and his team were preparing to leave for Egypt on the first available flight. 

CONTROLLING THE SITUATION

On Saturday night the SVITZER team reached EMMA MAERSK and were given a thorough briefing and tour of the stricken ship by its Captain and Chief Engineer. After surveying the damage, Bram Sperling and his team immediately set about planning the operation that would control the situation and eventually bring the vessel to a suitable port for repairs. It was now early Sunday morning, and the salvors had had little rest for 24 hours. But in an operation like this, every second saved has real and tangible value to the customer. When a ship gets into trouble somewhere on the globe and its owners call SVITZER for assistance, an elite team of salvage experts led by an experienced Salvage Master is assembled and dispatched in a matter of hours. A recent example is the case of EMMA MAERSK.

KEEPING A COOL HEAD

The plan set a whole chain of activities in motion, and keeping a cool head became the number one priority for the Salvage Master and his team. The ship’s main engine had been flooded, but the water had stopped just short of the generators. It was decided to keep the engine flooded to avoid corrosion, and pumps were mobilised from Holland and installed to keep a steady water level. Using software specially developed by SVITZER Salvage, a Naval Architect made a 3D model of EMMA MAERSK enabling ballast simulations to test the new stresses in the vessel following the flooding. The ship’s cargo of approximately 13,500 TEU containers had to be unloaded. And at the same time, divers and diving equipment were hired locally and set to work placing patches on the stern thruster tunnel. A big job that in Cooperation with the EMMA MAERSK’s crew and the salvage team eventually completed the operation and stopped the flooding. 

ACROSS THE MEDITERRANEN

After two weeks, EMMA MAERSK was ready to be towed across the Mediterranean to Palermo, Italy, for repairs. A tug arrived from Spain, and on 15 February 2013, the convoy set off with a three-man salvage team on board the EMMA MAERSK. The voyage was uneventful, finally allowing the crew to exchange the  heavy work on the pumps with some heavy lifting in EMMA MAERSK’s onboard gymnasium. On 25 February 2013, EMMA MAERSK  reached Palermo. This marked the successful end of a salvage operation characterised by great cooperation between Maersk Line, SVITZER, the crew of EMMA MAERSK and the SVITZER salvage team.

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