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Thursday, 05 June 2014 10:21

Salvage spares oil pollution after Isle of Wight yacht sinks with 8,000 litres

Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) reports that the intricate operation to salvage the burnt and sunken 70 foot, 114 ton superyacht Kahu from the riverbed in East Cowes Marina, Isle of Wight, has been completed successfully after a great team effort spares the area from ecological disaster.

The technical and logistical challenges of safely salvaging the Kahu were considerable, necessitating a 24/7 operation from the time of the fire being first reported. With highly sensitive environmental areas of mudflats and saltmarsh upstream from the scene on the River Medina, and 8,000 litres of pollution-boat-main1diesel onboard the Kahu, the concern was to prevent significant pollution to the area and this has been achieved.

Chair of the Solent Environment Group, Mike O'Neill said: "Thanks to the efforts of Cowes Harbour Commission team and the other responders the impact on the environment was kept to an absolute minimum. The Solent Environment Group was able to provide advice on how sensitive the River Medina is to help plan the salvage of the vessel."

Adler and Allan's salvage team has helped in the recovery of the luxury motor yacht from the seabed at East Cowes Marina while limiting the spread of pollution by containing and removing leaked oil.

When Adler and Allan were called to site on the November 5th, the 23 metre MV Kahu had recently sunk following a fire on board earlier that day.

Glyn Humphries, Adler and Allan Project Director, said: "On arrival, diesel sheen was evident throughout the marina and an amount of charred wood and fresh fuel were contained within harbour booms deployed directly by Cowes Harbour Commissionpollution-boat-main2. Working with Harbour Master Captain Stuart McIntosh's team, we agreed an action plan and rapidly deployed skimmers and secondary booming in time to protect upriver nature conservation sites from the threat of the strong flood tide carrying pollution their way."

Throughout the period when preparations were being made to remove the casualty from the seabed, the Adler and Allan team managed the pollution threat around the clock and provided daily environmental reports to Captain McIntosh for his discussions with the Environment Group and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

On the 12th November, the boat lifted by a floating crane onto a salvage barge after initially being rigged with air lift bags around Kahu's sunken hull by local company RS Divers. Adler and Allan deployed further oil booms and skimmer systems to contain any potential major loss of fuel from the Kahu's tanks during the lift. Prior to the final stages of the lift, an Adler and Allan team boarded the casualty and pumped out the fuel tanks and engine room bilges.

Capt. Stuart McIntosh said: "I'm pleased to report that salvage of the Kahu and pollution control went well, according to our detailed plans and revised timeline. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the CHC staff and contractors who worked tirelessly to complete this operation in a safe and timely manner."

RS Divers also cleared the sea bed where Kahu's hull rested and Adler and Allan created a bunded containment area around the casualty on the salvage barge. Kahu has now been moved to Camber Docks in Portsmouth and Adler and Allan have left the site after completing a decontamination programme.

Harbour Master, Capt. Stuart McIntosh added: "It's reassuring to know that within the Cowes and Solent region the expertise exists to handle an incident of this magnitude. The professionalism shown by the salvage team was exemplary together with the efforts from my own team here at the Harbour Commission. All the players went the extra mile to achieve an excellent result."

Cowes Harbour Commission
Adler & Allan Limited
RS Divers