We have been involved several times in salvaging “small” vessels such as yachts, sailboats, sloops, small pontoons. We arrived at the Mercator dock in Ostend on Tuesday 20 December 2022 to assist Ship Support Technics with the salvage of the M/V BLINERA. Daan Harnisfeger was in charge of the salvage operation.
After everyone had arrived, Daan organised a briefing at which he presented his salvage plan. This was very professional on all fronts. Pictures and drawings of the ship were put on the table and Daan explained very systematically how he wanted to approach the salvage. In doing so, he constantly gave everyone a say and questioned everyone to make sure no one missed the point. The condition of the shipwreck, its position, the condition of the seabed, the possible attachment points, the possible risks, the salvage equipment, everything was discussed, nothing was forgotten. And every time someone brought up something that was held back, Daan repeated it several times and questioned everyone again to make sure it was all clearly understood.
After a good hour of briefing, everyone went to work on what had been agreed. It went very smoothly. Daan guided the entire team in a very clear manner and with a lot of respect for everyone involved. He did not forget the owner and his wife, who were also watching. The police officers were briefed and involved and even the spectators were given a word of explanation.
The shipwreck lay with its stern side quite deep in the bottom and was making an angle of around 45 degrees.
A telescopic crane presented a lifting frame above the wreck from which two heavy lifting straps were hanging. Daan’s technicians and our diver were able to position the lifting straps in the right place position under the hull. The crane applied a slight tension to the straps by hoisting the lifting frame.
The bow was then lifted with two lifting balloons. These were applied by our divers with a lifting cable through the bow propeller tunnel. Then the stern was lifted with two lifting balloons that were applied asymmetrically. This was very ingenious on the part of the Daan, which used them not only to hoist the ship but also to tilt it immediately so that it lay horizontally on the surface. Via an air distribution station, the hoisting balloons were slowly inflated and indeed the shipwreck was very gently released from the bottom and tilted horizontally exactly as Daan had thought out. The lifting straps were hoisted as the wreck came to the surface.
As soon as it came to the surface, technicians with submersible pumps jumped on board and started pumping out the wreck. Others examined the hull for leaks. They found about four, which were sealed in no time.
When it was certain that the wreck was floating stably, the lifting frame was disconnected from the lifting straps and Daan towed with his workboat the wreck out of the dock. During the M/V BLINERA’s last trip through the dock, it was raining and already dark. Very carefully and very precisely, the wreck was guided between all the other yachts to a quay beyond the Mercator lock. There the crane was set up again to salvage the wreck on the quay.
We had started work at 08.00hr in the morning and all together delivered the wreck at 16.00hr on the quay. Everything had gone without any accidents or incidents and in the utmost respect for all involved.
Daan, you executed that very professionally!