Resolve recovers grounded freighter, hazardous cargo amid pandemic


The following is text of a news release from Resolve Marine Group:

(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — Resolve Marine has successfully refloated the grounded cargo vessel Kaami, completing response operations with a tow to a dry dock in Loch Kishorn, Scotland.

What began in the early morning of March 23 with the grounding of Kaami, carrying eight crew and 1,900 tons of SRF pellets, evolved into a comprehensive response operation requiring patching of raptured cargo holds and ballast tanks, lightering of the cargo, and refloat operations. Despite unpredictable weather conditions off the Isle of Skye, Scotland, and difficult conditions associated with the COVID-19 restrictions, Resolve salvage teams and equipment, mobilized from bases in Europe, Africa, and the United States.

Initial search and rescue efforts by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) U.K. focused on safely evacuating the crew from the stricken vessel. Soon after, a Lloyd's open form was agreed between Resolve Marine and the vessel’s owners. Storm force conditions prevented Resolve’s salvage team from boarding the vessel but on March 25, response teams were able to board via helicopter and begin an on-site assessment.

Working closely with the U.K. secretary of state’s representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP), MCA, and owner's special casualty representative (SCR), a salvage plan was developed to mitigate pollution threats, stabilize the vessel and prepare her for refloating. The team’s immediate priority was to remove the vessel’s bunkers containing approximately 63 tonnes of fuel. Once the fuels were removed, the team’s attention turned to removing the 1,900 tons of SRF pellets cargo, which posed a significant environmental threat.

Kaami was grounded on an exposed rock pinnacle that was exposed to strong currents and a 16-foot tide difference. As teams boarded the casualty, the tide and current conditions created obstacles allowing a few hours between tides for lightering assets to position alongside the vessel, providing an opportunity to remove bunkers and cargo.

After 43 days working in northern Scotland’s unforgiving weather, the Resolve salvage team along with its partners successfully managed to refloat Kaami using a combination of salvage patches and compressed air. The vessel was then towed and safely redelivered to Kishorn.

“From the beginning, we knew this response was going to present a host of unique challenges,” said Dimitri Theodorou, Resolve’s director of emergency response. “From the location and weather to global travel conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic, the teams focused on personal safety as they executed an urgent response.” 

By Professional Mariner Staff