Successful recovery of MSC Chitra

MUMBAI – The clock is ticking. The Salvaging of the MSC Chitra, which sank in sight of the Mumbai harbour, must be completed before the monsoon season sets in. The enormous freighter sunk in the busy shipping lanes leading to the Indian metropolis. Smit Salvage joined forces once again with Van Heck to complete this extremely delicate operation. With Van Heck’s knowledge and wide experience, including the stranding of the MSC Napoli along the British coast in 2006, Smit didn’t hesitate teaming up with the pump specialist again.

The MSC Chitra sank following a collision late last year. Much of the cargo was removed from the ship, although there was still plenty of debris and damaged containers floating in her compartments. For this reason the 36 hydraulic pumps, types VSPH400 and 150, were fitted with a special pipe sleeve acting as a suction filter to prevent the pump from becoming blocked. Pontoons, located on
each side of the Chitra, were both con- nected to the Chitra with cables. These pontoons, one being Smit’s own Giant 2, provide the Chitra with extra buoyancy. Thanks to Van Heck’s Centrally Controlled Ballast System, the ballast tanks can be controlled from a central point.

Flexible partner

This ‘central control’ from a single control panel provides excellent oversight during the refloating process. Van Heck consulted extensively with the salvage company during the brainstorming sessions, to come up with the most suitable approach. For these delicate and complicated opera- tions, a customized solution is always required – one of Van Heck’s strengths. The mobile system for the complex ballast operation was installed by Van Heck employees together with colleagues from Smit. To everyone’s satisfaction, the project was completed successfully just before this newsletter went to press. Van Heck has once again proven itself to be a reliable and flexible partner in the offshore world.

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