Navy salvages sunken tug after 7 days
A TEAM from the SA Navy has successfully brought the tug, De Mist, out of the water during the early hours of yesterday.
Tug De Mist sank on November 10 in the still water of Simon’s Town Harbour, landing on the port side in a shallow depth of 10m.
It took seven days and nights of hard work for the team to accomplish this task.
The naval engineering department and Navy divers used a limited array of lifting bags and submersible pumps during the operation. The tug was raised off the seabed and towed to the Synchrolift facility about 50m away.
The main challenge for them over the past few weeks was the attempt to make the 39-year-old tug airtight.
The divers used underwater welding equipment to seal off holes so they could pump her full of air, but as soon as leaks were sealed, other leaks bubbled to the surface.
On November 28 the Navy divers concentrated all lifting efforts to the aft (rear) of the tug, managing to raise her and bring her 2m away from the quay, with her keel resting on the bedrock. The docking plate under the tug also kept on getting stuck in the sand during the lifting process, which added to the complications.
On Monday, the naval riggers, in conjunction with the Naval Harbour Master, devised a way of using “snatch blocks” to improve the ability for the tug to float. The aim was to raise the tug high enough to clear the platform of the Synchrolift.
This was achieved on Wednesday. The success of this operation was a reflection of teamwork and resourcefulness shown by the team of professionals. The operation also provided practical salvage experience for the Navy divers. |