Back in August you may have seen this story on BBC’s and other new agencies’ websites about some giant pipes that washed up on the Norfolk coast. Often these things are quickly forgotten about, but in this case, we’d like to share the story behind the cleanup and how shipping came to the rescue.
On the 19th July 2017 a tug, sailing from Scandinavia to Algeria and towing 14 x 400-meter long pipes with several escort ships, had its tow broken by a container feeder ship. Out of the 14 pipes being towed, 2 remained attached to the tug, a couple were salvaged, leaving the remainder lost at sea. On the 11th August 4 of the pipes were washed up on the Norfolk Coast at Sea Palling, Horsey, Waxham and Winterton-on-Sea. The company that owned the pipes were forced to pass the matter to their insurance company who put the recovery and removal of the pipes out to tender.
On the 13th September Scotline were contacted by the Special Projects division of Danish freight forwarding company, Blue Water Shipping A/S, to discuss salvaging the pipes. Blue Water Shipping asked Scotline to provide suitable vessels for removing and transporting the pipes from Lowestoft Harbour back to Aalborg in Denmark in the most cost-effective way. One of the key parameters for both companies to transport the pipes was for all of them to be removed from Lowestoft by the 31st October 2017, a tough deadline for the number and size of pipes, requiring a number of shipments.
Blue Water Shipping’s Naval Architects, Stevedore Foremen and Project Forwarders teamed up with Vessel Owner, Scotline, to select the most suitable vessel type from their fleet, considering intake, lashing/securing setup and timing among other factors.
The first ship, MV Scot Mariner, was positioned for loading the first parcel of pipes on Monday 16th October, then her sister ship, MV Scot Venture, for the second parcel two days later. Both ships took the maximum number of pipes, stowed 3 tiers high under deck and 2 tiers high on deck.
Blue Water Shipping entered into an agreement with local crane operator, Wavetrade Ltd, to supply mobile crane, lifting equipment and labour to perform the loading operation, while other local services were ordered via local agent, Fr. Meyer’s Sohn UK.
The final ship will be from the Scotline fleet to take the remaining pipes, flanges and granulate back to Denmark where they will be recycled by Aage Vestergaard Larsen A/S, having more than 45 years of experience in plastic recycling. Aage Vestergaard Larsen, being one of the leading companies in Europe working with plastic recycling, will convert the pipes in to a quality raw material to be reused in the European plastic industry. ‘This will be the largest single project being carried out at their facilities in Mariager, Denmark, and everyone is looking forward to getting started’, says Franz Cuculiza, Managing Director from Aage Vestergaard Larsen. These additional 1500 tons of plastic will increase the annual production by approximately 10% during 2018, resulting in more people to be employed at the factory in Mariager.
Once all materials are shipped from Lowestoft, the designated quay area will be delivered back to the port.
‘This story shows that when combining forces of experts across borders, even complicated projects like this can be overcome’, says Nikolaj Buurgaard Sørensen, Operations Manager from Blue Water Shipping.
A video of loading can be seen here.