Britannia's Gold: latest update May 10th
- BGL has now completed the ‘cutting’ phase of the Neptune project. This required the development and use of a new concept in collaboration with James Fisher Marine Services where an oil field decommissioning Ultra High Pressure Abrasive Water Jetting tool was utilised to cut through the ‘still as new’ hull plates of the shipwreck. Being ice class design, the high carbon content steel was up to 45 mm in places and securely fastened to the ships massive 44 inch thick frames with numerous very strong rivets.
- The salvage vessel used for the last phase of operations was pre-booked with another client from early May so we have now changed our salvage vessel and are mobilising to recommence on the third and final phase of this particular salvage project.
- Each time we have worked this site, we learn more as we dig deeper. Consequently, it is opportune that we have had to make the change in salvage vessel as we identified the need for a much larger capacity crane to remove the hull plates which we have since cut. Subsequently, we have designed and had fabricated specialist hull plate lift beams, which when attached to the cut sections of hull plates using the heavy duty crane, will remove with prove far more effective.
- The salvage team has managed to remove more overburden from the wreck as they now have better access each time hull plate is removed. The team has even managed to send into the ‘areas of interest’ a micro ROV by cutting small inspection hatches at strategic points in the hull. Certain materials have been seen within the silt laden interior that give great encouragement. However, the cargo of interest is buried in the silt which is some 3-5 meters deep and mixed with many other materials and cargo. That said, what we see is what we expected, and will be simple to remove once full access has been obtained by means of air lifting and dredging out the loose materials that the cargo is buried within.
- For those that are concerned about the security of the site in our absence, BGL has deployed a guard ship to protect the wreck from any unwelcome visitors, and we have the Irish Coast Guard working with us to ensure the site is not compromised.
- Should we complete works on the Neptune site in good time and suitable charter time remains, we will move operations to the next wreck site code named Zeus and commence operations immediately as we have already completed our surveys of this target and will have a well-equipped salvage vessel to hand."