With the ongoing salvage work on the car carrier Golden Ray it may be timely to look back at other salvage operations involving cutting the wreck in place to facilitate salvage.
The first such operation was the Russian submarine Kursk that sunk in the Barents Sea in Aug 2000 with the loss of 118 lives.
It was salvaged in 2002 by Smit Salvage in a technically spectacular operation:
More similar to the Golden Ray salvage is the salvage of the wreck of the car carrier Tricolor that sunk in the English Channel in 2003, after colliding with a container ships.
The wreck was a danger to other shipping as it was in one of the most trafficked shipping lanes in the world. This salvage operation was also performed by Smit Salvage:
Smit is the cats ass of salvage. Other good players out there, but Smit sets the bar.
i bet there were some real nice cars amongst those 2,800 from europe!, the Kurst story is good. though 25 yrs. (apx) after the K-129/glomar feat I doubt the methodologies involved with the Tricolor would of helped a lot due to the depth but the idea of holding it fast to the hull of the glomar maybe would of been a good idea? … well, except the us sure wanted it to be out of sight, thus,… inside the hull.
The Kursk was very much “out of sight” until safely in the drydock.
But I presume you are right that the US didn’t want to let anybody know they were stealing a wreck. (They didn’t have salvage rights AFAIK)
I am not aware of any ‘salvage right’ in this case. The ‘vessel’ was not in a dangerous situation and then salvaged; she just went down far away in deep international waters and then, she was implicitly lost and abandoned.
Indeed, the Soviets were not amused. If they had known the US-intentions before, they would have used extra-legal means to disturb this recuperation.
I don’t believe the soviets at the time had the wherewithal to even consider an operation of the sort the GE was able to pull off. The secrecy succeeded in avoiding an international spat.
A wreck belong to the Owner until someone is given the right to salvage. In this case the Owner (Soviet Navy) had not given permission to star any salvage operation.
Besides, the wreck contained the remains of the deceased crewmembers and was thus a grave and not to be disturbed,
We had a thread about the disappeared war wreck in the Java Sea some time back.
Everybody agreed that the Chinese salvors had no right to disturb the war graves, but I presume it is “different rules for different folks”?
Yes I have read the reports about the remains being given all due respect.
Nobody asked the relatives if they wanted to have the remains for a burial on Russian soil, however.
PS> If a vessel is in danger and request salvage assistance LOF is used as “Salvage contract”. LOF can be verbally agreed and is still binding.
BTW; The right to claim salvage because a vessel is abandoned does not apply when a vessel has sunk