The accident of the cruise ship Costa Concordia off the coast of Isola del Giglio in January 2013 shook the entire world. It was an unfortunate combination of events and human factor that led to the disaster which cost the lives of over 30 people. It triggered the introduction of changes in the regulations of the International Maritime Organization aimed at the improvement of safety on ships.
GAINING EXPERTISE IN THE SALVAGE WORLD
Once the rescue operations were complete, TITAN Salvage faced the largest salvage operation in history. The Florida-based company involved engineers, scientists, and firms from all around the world; NED-Project, as the only Polish partner, was chosen to cooperate in this international project. Our designers and employees were involved in the operations both on Isola del Giglio and in Ravenna. They offered their experience in the area of 3D model-making, supported the Salvage Master, made drawings, oversaw the flow and control of information, and supervised the welding works for, e.g., new buoyancy and stabilizing structures, so-called sponsons.
The contribution to recovering Costa Concordia was appreciated even before the operation was terminated, which resulted in NED-Project being employed for TITAN Salvage’s next project.
The work on Isola del Giglio was still in progress when in Ortona, a town located on the eastern coast of Italy, a joint team consisting of TITAN's and NED-Project's specialists was preparing a salvage plan for a tugboat which sank in the Congo River. In this project, NED-Project served as an engineering pillar and support for the Salvage Master providing drawings, calculations, and all kinds of design works related to the concept of recovering the shipwreck.
One of the more interesting challenges was the design of the so-called "diving habitat" – a steel structure that protects divers working underwater from strong currents, thanks to which they can descend to the required depth. The structure had to be tall enough to protrude above the water level when placed in a vertical position. Pipeline systems to push down bottom-flushing compressed air were designed, which allowed to control the descent of the "habitat".
After almost 4 months of preparation works, barge Karlisa A featuring the equipment necessary for the operations on the Congo River was loaded on another barge and transported to Africa. The operation was successful and the wreck was recovered from the water in January 2014.
The above experiences resulted in the acquisition of completely new knowledge and development of skills within NED-Project. Newly-established contacts and fresh ideas led to the joint venture which is the brand Engineering Solution Gmbh with headquarters in Germany. BES is the part of Brand Group Gmbh and it offers expert services in the area of ship inspection, study of causes of cargo damage, and investigation of marine accidents. So far, using the support of BES, we have implemented over 20 projects which involved the investigation of causes of particular accidents.
WE SAVE OUR CLIENTS' MONEY
Joint actions of NED-Project and BES result in measurable profits for our customers. In the previous year, BES conducted a project that is a real example of savings that can be made for the shipowner. A cargo hold on a container ship was partially damaged by fire and had to be repaired. The main scope of the repair was construction work, and the cost was mainly based on the amount of steel needed to rebuild the burned part. Using the newest available technology, BES quickly composed the 3D model of the cargo hold structure and precisely designated the range of elements that must be replaced. These activities were preceded by an appropriate inspection on board. BES optimized the quantity and costs of steel and as a result, the renovation cost borne by the Shipowner was reduced by approx. 15% compared to the original estimates.
WE USE STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY
To implement the tasks we use the best available tools and methods, ie. FEM numerical analysis (Finite Element Method), which is particularly useful for investigating the causes of container damage during a trip in harsh conditions. Appropriate stability calculation software, such as GHS General Hydrostatics, allows us to analyze situations related to the ship's rollover in port. It was one of the tools we used during the Costa Concordia Salvage Project.
WE MAKE THE SEA SAFE
Following the unique requirements of each project, we are ready to adapt and optimize our solutions in a way that benefits our client the most. Staying true to this idea, we created the brand new CEMLOAD software. It was developed from scratch by a team of NED-Project's and BES's specialists and equipped with functionalities tailor-made for Brise, a Hamburg-based shipowner. In total, more than ten cement transporting units are equipped with software that has been recognized among the crews for being easy-to-use and intuitive. The program also includes tools that have been specially designed for this type of unit, carrying out such tasks as calculating the height of the center of gravity of the cement laid in the hold after providing three appropriate measuring points.