Most vessels rarely experience a tsunami, let alone an earthquake followed by a tsunami in rapid succession. That was the fate of newly built Chilean research vessel Cabo de Hornos when the shipyard at which it was built was hit by the recent Chilean earthquake. Mammoet Salvage, a worldwide salvage company based in the Netherlands undertook the job of getting the vessel upright on land and then safely into the water.
From the press release: Mammoet Salvage, part of Mammoet, the worldwide leader in heavy lifting and transport, recently completed the salvage of Cabo de Hornos research vessel which was stranded on dry land by both earthquake and tsunami The vessel was built at a shipyard at the Talcahuano Naval Base in Chile and was ready to be launched. However, the day before the launch the area was hit by a heavy earthquake and the vessel broke free. While drifting in the sea the Cabo de Hornos was hit by a tsunami, caused by the same earthquake, and washed onto land at the other side of the shipyard.
Mammoet Salvage developed a detailed plan to recover the vessel and was awarded the contract on 12 November 2010. The solution was to pick the vessel up with SPMTs (Self-Propelled Modular Trailers: versatile units which are highly mobile and can lift heavy loads). The SPMTs would then transfer the vessel to a barge moored in a drydock on site. Finally, the vessel would be floated free of the barge to launch it.
Mammoet’s in-house engineering department made a major contribution to the project. They designed the supports used to carry the Cabo de Hornos on the SPMTs and determined how the vessel (length 74 meters) could be handled safely. The total load amounted to 2000 tons. As the vessel was stranded on soft sand, extensive excavation and civil works were needed to provide a safe road to the dry dock. While this work was underway at the site, Mammoet Europe and Mammoet USA provided 31 containers of heavy equipment and a 90 meter barge. The SPMTs picked the Cabo de Hornos up and transferred her onto the barge in the drydock on 27 January. On 29 January the vessel was floated off the barge and handed over to the owners.