Some time ago, a dredger had reported an object in the bottom of the outer harbour of Zeebrugge. The object could not be identified because it had sunk deep into the seabed. But there was definitely an obstacle.
The port authorities were formal: it had to be removed as soon as possible. Several attempts were made to locate the object but each time without success. Partly because a thick layer of silt covers the bottom of the harbour. In this layer heavy objects sink away completely and divers cannot pass through it during their investigation. Until one day we managed. A heavy drag anchor was used to make contact with the object. The diver dug his way through the bottom to the object and was able to form an idea of the dimensions and even pull off a piece of steel. The object turned out to be so large that some thought it was a shipwreck. Perhaps a remnant from one of the two World Wars…
Group Artes was commissioned to salvage the object and equipped its LYNN crane pontoon with a 400-ton crane. SUBMAR was invited to take care of the diving work. A dredging crane on the LYNN cleaned up as much silt as possible around the object. Afterwards the diver descended. He was able to place a lifting cable at a strong point of the object. Then the lifting started. At 40 tons it came loose from the bottom and was slowly brought to the surface.
It turned out to be a dredging head that had been broken off from the dredging pipe many years ago. Due to its enormous weight, it may have sunk so deep into the seabed that it was considered lost. However, further research will show if this is the case.
In any case, another satisfied customer!