Inland Salvage awarded drill barge wreck removal contract

Harvey, La., based Inland Salvage Inc. (ISI) was recently selected as salvor to conduct wreck removal operations of a 2,650 ton inland drill barge following an unsuccessful attempt by another contractor to salvage the barge. The barge partially capsized in Bayou Shaffer, near Morgan City, La., on September 4, 2011.

ISI provided initial emergency response, dive and lightering services after the barge capsized due to Tropical Storm Lee's storm surge.

On notification that it had been appointed salvor, ISI immediately responded.  It deployed experienced salvage and dive teams consisting of salvage masters and divers who had conducted similar operations on capsized inland drill barges.

After extensive dive surveys, ISI COO David Grecho, brought together ISI's salvage management team, drawing from each member's particular field of expertise, to develop a salvage plan approved by Inland Salvage CEO Eli Zatezalo.

To coordinate and clear procedures for ISI wreck removal operations, salvage officers met with the Command Staff at USCG Marine Safety Unit  Morgan City. Work began January 17 with the arrival of ISI's salvage fleet of two heavy lift A-frames, crane barge, tug boats, receiver barges and crew support vessels.

Wreck removal operations are currently underway and on schedule in line with ISI's wreck removal plan approved by the USCG.  Working in zero visibility conditions divers have been separating the superstructure from the barge hull by burning all supporting beams and trunks at the deck level.  ISI's plan calls for the separation of the superstructure, flotation and par-buckling of the main barge and chain cutting the superstructure into four separate pieces with final retrieval via heavy lift operations.

Daily safety and job task meetings are conducted to ensure all ISI salvage personnel as well as the USCG are aware and prepared for each day's operations.  ISI says the resources of all  team members are focused towards one common goal – a well-planned and safely executed wreck removal operation.

February 8, 2012