Pumping operations and removal of contaminants of the wreck of the tug Sir Gaëtan


Pumping operations and removal of contaminants

On Monday night 31 August 2020, a major operation was underway in Mauritius, as a tug boat involved in the cleanup operation from the Wakashio Oil Spill, sunk killing three of its crew members. The tug boat, Sir Gaëtan Duval, operated by the Mauritius Port Authority, was towing an empty oil barge that was to be positioned near the wreck of Wakashiofor any future oil pumping that might have been required. The accident happened in the northeast of the island between the tug, Sir Gaëtan Duval and the barge it was towing. The barge, L’Ami Constant, is owned by Mauritian maritime services company, Taylor Smith.

Polyeco Group International DMCC, af Polygreen LTD company, undertook the extraction and decontamination operations of the wreck of the tug Sir Gaëtan tug in the North, with 109.5m3 of oil mixed with sea water pumped out of the tug including the removal of batteries on board. The operation in Poudre d’Or was conducted from Posh Peserverance, a DP 2.0 vessel, which was loaded with specialized equipment and was geared to facilitate submarine operations, such as welding and pumping.

The multi-partnered team, headed by Polygreen and Dive Solutions (Mauritius) worked relentlessly around the clock to ensure that all hydrocarbons were safely and securely removed without any contamination affecting the surrounding habitat. Throughout the span of the operations, a total of 750m of sorbent booms were deployed and 300m of oil booms were set up in the lagoon as precautionary measures.

Following the extraction of oil, 13 tanks and spaces in the engine room were inspected and flushed out with the introduction of pressurized air to ensure that no hydrocarbons were left on board. The delicate operation of cutting into the hull to access the engine room was perfomed with the use of an underwater cutting torch. Accessing the engine room was necessary in order to inspect and flush out any other contaminants that might be present on the tug. It is to be noted that the application of the hot tapping drilling method to connect the pipe that extracted the oil from the tanks was the safest way to perform the operations.

The operations were completed in September 23, 2020.