Tricolor Salvage
August 8, 2003 5:23 AM   Subscribe

The Tricolor, a 50,000-ton cargo vessel carrying 3000 automobiles worth more than $40 million, is being raised. Cost to raise the Tricolor: $40 million. It sunk, then was hit three times, once by the Nicola, then by the Vicky (an oil tanker which spilled some, and killed marine life), then by a salvage tug. Good summary of the collisions in Dutch and English, with photos (similarly in French). Official press briefings offer good outline of all stages since the beginning. The automobile manufacturers tried to prevent pictures being taken of the destroyed automobiles, but there they are and even more and better. The official Tricolor salvage site offers a PDF file on how the salvage is being done: in part, with a huge cutting wire.
posted by Mo Nickels (20 comments total)
Damn, I thought they were cool old cars from the 50's or something. Why bother salvaging them? The article said that the auto manufacturers wanted to avoid any possible liability claims if salvaged/scavenged parts were installed in vehicles that subsequently break down, but wouldn't the installer be liable, not the company?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:34 AM on August 8, 2003

From the first link: Salvage workers are sawing the wreck into 9 pieces with a specially designed, diamond-encrusted wire. Its cargo of 3,000 BMWs, Saabs & Volvos will be junked. [my emphasis]

The reason they have to salvage this ship (as opposed to its cargo, which presumably is still held within it) is that the boat has grounded on its side just below the surface slap bang in the middle of a major shipping route and three ships, including an oil tanker, have already collided with it.
posted by davehat at 5:45 AM on August 8, 2003

The Guardian has a thoroughly interesting Flash guide to how they're going to raise it - basically, by cutting it up into smallish bits. Fascinating in a way that I never through ship salvage could be.
posted by humuhumu at 5:46 AM on August 8, 2003

super interesting. I now have my conversation for the pub tonight

great post Mo Nickels.
posted by Frasermoo at 6:27 AM on August 8, 2003

[this is fascinating]
posted by shoepal at 6:36 AM on August 8, 2003

Cool link -- I'm surprised not to have heard about a giant ship sinking in the English channel and being hit by other ships.

I saw one of these Wallenius Wilhelmsen auto-carrying ships in Jacksonville off the Dames Point Bridge. They're unbelievably gigantic. It's pretty amazing that all 24 crew members survived when one of them sank quickly.
posted by rcade at 6:37 AM on August 8, 2003

well there were no deaths and no eco-problem when it sank. it really only made the news as a novelty report because of the cars on board.
posted by Frasermoo at 6:50 AM on August 8, 2003

humuhumu's Guardian link said there will be a huge barge with a deck area over 4 square km. A 4 square kilometer barge! But alas the barge is 36m x 140m or about 5000 sq meters.
posted by stbalbach at 6:52 AM on August 8, 2003

So that's where my car went.
posted by attackthetaxi at 6:53 AM on August 8, 2003

Thanks, Mo!
posted by LinusMines at 7:32 AM on August 8, 2003

The NYTimes article makes a big deal about how the companies don't want the stuff ending up on the market. But if they weren't paying for it, would they have any say? Salvage is finder's keepers, I believe.
posted by smackfu at 7:40 AM on August 8, 2003

Gee, they put a single buoy to mark a wreck that was actually visible in the water and three ships ran into it. Color me shocked.
posted by tommasz at 7:42 AM on August 8, 2003

tommasz.. as can be seen from the pictures the water is not that deep compared to the size of the ship so we have to assume there is a shipping lane probably artificially dug to keep it deep enough. Normally these shipping lanes are wide enough to allow two ships to pass at once and that's it. If you've ever seen two 10-story tall buildings pass by each other at high speed feet apart you will be impressed. Piloting a large ship is not like driving a car, it can take many minutes to exact a change of course and should the wind or wreck in the road come into play fun times will ensue.
posted by stbalbach at 8:24 AM on August 8, 2003

EXCELLENT link to the pictures of the cutting! wow, NICE sections.
posted by tomplus2 at 8:59 AM on August 8, 2003

Fascinating site. The "cargo nightmare" section is great as well. Reminds my of my college days. I worked as a deckhand on the M/V Omnisea which burned while docked at Pier 91 in Seattle, not one of the shining moments of my seafaring career.
posted by rotifer at 9:25 AM on August 8, 2003

Excellent link, thanks!
posted by riffola at 9:29 AM on August 8, 2003

The flash presentation is fantastic. One more reason why I love The Guardian.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:59 AM on August 8, 2003

if they weren't paying for it, would they have any say? Salvage is finder's keepers, I believe.

flotsam, jetsam, and ligan. The cargo in question is ligan and as long as the owners or their agents marked the location of the wreck, under maritime law they retain most ownership rights. Finders keepers chiefly applies to abandoned salvage, and it's rarely automatic. (There is even litigation involving the Titanic salvage, which was granted only after lengthy court proceedings.) In this case, the marine salvage team is commissioned by the French government to clear the waterway; this alone may make them ineligible to claim salvage rights.

Personally, I found the photos too reminiscent of Cypress highway after the Loma Prieta earthquake.
posted by dhartung at 3:44 PM on August 8, 2003

Good points, stbalbach, but I think tommasz knew that already and was being facetious.
posted by kayjay at 5:57 PM on August 8, 2003

[this is good]

Anyone want to buy a cheap BMW?
posted by dg at 6:42 PM on August 10, 2003

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