Navy sal­vages sunken tug after 7 days

Cape Argus - - METRO - Staff Re­porter

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. |

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