Wreck Removal Gelso M

On March 10th 2012, chemical / product tanker GELSO M whilst in ballast condition grounded during severe weather conditions on the rocks of Capo S. Panagia North of Syracuse, Italy. The strong sea had pushed the ship against the rocks off the coast.

The Gelso M had at the time of the accident no cargo on board, but among the other 190 m3 of fuel. The 19 crew members were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard, with two helicopters. According to the shipping company a fault during activation to the Port Augusta was the cause of the disaster. The data recorder of the ship’s voyage was March 13, has recovered The analysis of the VDR showed that the propeller temporarily ran empty at sea. Excessive speed generated blocked the diesel engine. Over the weekend prevailed strong east wind (30 knots to 37 °) and gusts of 80 mph. After the sea conditions settled it was concluded that the casualty had sustained catastrophic fatal damage and could not be refloated.


Therefore the response focussed on pollutant removal. Because the vessel tanks were not gas-free the inert condition had to be restored after which cargo remained; 300 cubic metres of bunkers and smaller items such as batteries, paint and cargo samples were discharged to shore. To complete the operation the cargo spaces were ventilated and a gas-free certificate was issued by the Port Chemist. The operations were completed by 28 March, 387m3 fuel and other substances were removed from the hull.  Three weeks after the grounding the vessel was considered free of pollutants and a tender process for the wreck removal was started

NERI in cooperation with SMIT Salvage and Augustea mobilised a salvage team, sheerlegs, barges and tugs, anti-pollution equipment

and were awarded a Wreck Removal contract by GARD AS Norway , after 4 months of operations 5.000 tons of steel were removed from the sea, demolished and disposed ashore.

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