Miko Marine AS of Oslo has signed two contracts with Tidewater Middle East, through its established joint venture J.V Miko-Båtservice, for work aimed at wreck removal in the Persian Gulf.
The initial project is to remove seven wrecks sunk in Iranian waters during the Iran-Iraq war. They lie in the Kohr-E-Musha Shat – Al Arab waterway close to the border between Iran and Iraq and will be the first of over 100 hulks now targeted for removal after being a hazard to shipping for more than 20 years. Many are known to contain deteriorating explosives and the steady growth in tanker traffic in the region is increasing the risk of an incident leading to pollution and loss of life. The Iranian government is now responding to persistent appeals from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the United Nations and marine insurers to remove these hazards from the Persian Gulf.
Miko Marine has started the work together with Båtservice AS, which is a Norwegian company with more than 15 years of experience working in Iran. It is one of the few western companies with its own ship-yard in Iran and it has a close relationship with the Iranian Ports and Maritime Organisation.
The first phase of the operation includes thorough surveys to establish safe and efficient wreck removal. This will involve performing sonar and diving surveys and the submission of a salvage or wreck removal plan, for completion by 2011, to Tidewater and the Iranian authorities.
Each wreck is unique in its structure, physical condition and the dangers it presents and lack of water visibility makes diver inspection difficult and of limited value for the preparation of the wreck removal plans. Because of this, surveys will be conducted using high resolution sonar technology. The latest multibeam echo sounder, side-scan and sea bottom profiler technology will make it possible to obtain a solid 3-D model of each wreck and its position in the sea-bed.
Miko Marine is a highly experienced company within the salvage industry and consists of a group of naval architects with salvage expertise that has demonstrated the development and operational advantages of a range creative solutions and tools. The company will consequently develop, evaluate and recommend a plan for the removal of each wreck. The options considered might range from scrapping the vessel in-situ to refloating it and moving it to a safer location for breaking-up.
Miko Marine AS is also currently leading the Ship Arrestor Project which is developing a technique to catch and slow the drift of ships that have lost power. Miko also manufactures a highly successful range of magnetic emergency patches that can be used to seal holes in damaged ships, fuel tanks or cargo holds.