The Dutch Smit Salvage, a subsidiary of dredger Boskalis, has been hired to release the container ship in the Suez Canal. Since Tuesday, that ship has been blocking the canal, creating queues on both sides.
Boskalis has been commissioned together with the Japanese Nippon Salvage. The two companies are now working on a plan to release the ship, together with the ship‘s captain and the Suez Canal Authority, the Egyptian state-owned company that manages the canal.
Issue of days
“This morning our people were on board to make an inventory. The ship is wall fixed,” says Boskalis-top man Peter Berdowski, who emphasizes that the ship seems to be intact. “That’s good news, because otherwise it could start tearing when dragging. The people who are on the spot communicate with the people in the Netherlands about the situation. Then, based on these findings, models and calculations are made here how we are going to solve this.”
According to Berdowski, the challenge lies in what comes next. “Is there a tug nearby and are there cranes to take the containers off? Can there be an oil tanker if we want to get the fuel out and is there dredging equipment to remove the sand?”
Once successful, the various options will be submitted to the Egyptian authorities, the ship owner and the insurers. They must give the green light together. According to Berdowski, everyone knows by now that it is not a matter of a day, but of days. “It must be done as soon as possible. We are going to deal with this in a careful manner. You have to keep your head cool.”