NEW ORLEANS –Inland Salvage Inc. announced it was recently selected as salvor to conduct wreck removal operations of a 2,650-ton inland drill barge following an unsuccessful attempt by another contractor to salvage the barge. The barge partially capsized in Bayou Shaffer, near Morgan City, La., on Sept. 4, 2011. ISI provided initial emergency response, dive and lightering services after the barge capsized due to Tropical Storm Lee’s storm surge.
ISI was notified by the vessel’s assured and underwriters that it had been appointed as the salvor. ISI immediately deployed salvage and dive teams consisting of salvage masters and divers who have conducted similar operations on capsized inland drill barges in the past, according to an ISI release.
Following extensive dive surveys, ISI COO David Grecho assembled ISI’s salvage management team, drawing from each member’s particular field of expertise, to develop a salvage plan approved by Inland Salvage CEO Eli Zatezalo, according to the company.
The salvage officers met with the staff at the USCG Marine Safety Unit Morgan City in order to coordinate and clear procedures for ISI wreck removal operations. Work commenced Jan. 17 with the arrival of ISI’s salvage fleet of two heavy lift A-frames, crane barge, tugs, receiver barges and crew-support vessels.
Wreck removal operations are currently underway and on schedule per ISI’s Wreck Removal Plan approved by the USCG. Divers were separating the superstructure from the barge hull by burning all supporting beams and trunks at the deck level in zero visibility conditions. ISI’s plan calls for the separation of the superstructure, floatation and par-buckling of the main barge, chain cutting the superstructure into four separate pieces with final retrieval via heavy lift operations.