Marine Salvage: What iS it?
Tim Beaver, President, American Salvage Association
Marine casualty response commonly called Salvage is an interesting and little understood world. It is a world of pumps and rigging, divers and engineers, tugs and derricks, fast response and hard contracts. To call a salvage company is to gain access to an amazing assortment of services. These services often are part and parcel of other marine disciplines such as marine construction, towing, diving and naval architecture. So what does it mean to be a salvor these days, and when and why does one make that call to engage a salvage operator? The Salvor is the GP (General Practitioner) of an otherwise often highly specialized marine industry. While each salvage company has particular strengths, most come to the table with a broad set of skills. These skills include the ability to: mobilize a disabled or stranded vessel with tugboats; put divers in the water to assess and mitigate damage to the hull and structure; to have resources at hand to dewater flooded compartments; and lightering capability to transfer fuel and cargo from a stricken vessel. Those are just some of the basics. Other more specialized responses include boarding/taking command of abandoned vessels, firefighting and dealing with hazardous substances. In order to get this range of services in a coordinated response, call your salvor.
Organization of the response is mandatory to a successful salvage effort, and this comes with having skilled and experienced people in charge, the ability to line up needed subcontractors and integration into the USCG Incident Command System when stood up. An often overlooked benefit of hiring a professional experienced salvor is this familiarity with the regulatory community that must be managed during a maritime crisis. A call to a reputable salvor can assure regulators and subcontractors alike that all available means are being considered and brought to bear responsibly and appropriately. We at the American Salvage Association are proud to provide such salvage and marine casualty response to North America, as well as to the world. Member companies are currently involved in a multitude of projects both domestically and abroad. Domestically, one member company on the East Coast recently completed two wreck removals. One involving the removal of a 250 ft hopper barge grounded on some rocks in the Hudson River and a 220 ft spud barge in an ocean environment offshore of Coney Island, NY. Both were removed via the chopper beam method of wreck removal. In a rare use of the Lloydâ€™s Open Form (LOF) another member company responded to a
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utility boat gone aground near Port Aransas in the Gulf Coast, and using more than a half mile of high strength floating line pulled her off just before bad weather. internationally our members are working the most high profile and difficult projects out there. The Costa Concordia project is being handled by an ASA member in partnership with a local maritime construction and engineering company. This involves the refloating of the one of the largest passenger liners on the planet, and is arguably the biggest single salvage project ever attempted. The project involves hundreds of skilled personnel and many millions of dollars worth of floating equipment and specialized salvage gear to right and refloat this vessel. The containership RENA, aground off the coast of New Zealand, is being removed from a delicate and remote coral reef environment by an ASA member. This project will demonstrate once again the skill, determination and wide ranging capabilities of our membership. All customers are entitled to the kind of response described above. We at the ASA recommend and encourage operators to get to know their salvage resources in advance of that call for help. Our members stand ready to resolve your emergency with skill and professionalism you can rely upon. â–
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