Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Collision and sinking of m.v. "TRICOLOR" On Dec 14, 2002



Collision and sinking of m.v. "TRICOLOR"
On Dec 14, 2002, in the early morning’s thick fog, on its way from Zeebrugge to Southampton, with a load of almost 3,000 BMWs, Volvos and Saabs, "Tricolor" collided with a 1982 Bahamian-flagged container ship named "Kariba", about 20 miles north of the French coast in the English Channel. Albeit scathed enormously above the water line, the "Kariba" could continue on while the "MV Tricolor" capsized and remained wedged on her side in 30 metres of deep waterway.

No lives were lost as the crew 24 persons onboard were rescued unharmed by the "Kariba" itself and another tugboat named "Boxer". But approximately 2,862 cars & 77 units of RoRo-cargo, consisting mainly tractors and crane parts, could not be salvaged. 

The shipping lane, being one of the busiest ones, had been buoyed off and guarded by the French police vessels "Glaive" and "HMS Anglesey" along with a few more, in order to alert other ships to the "MV Tricolor’s" presence. Despite that, only two days later a cargo ship, "Nicola",followed by another vessel, "Vicky", carrying 70,000 tonnes of highly flammable gas oil, crashed into the wreck of the MV Tricolor on Jan 1, 2003, after failing to heed to several French naval warnings. On Jan 22 the third unfortunate accident succeeded when a salvage tug knocked a safety valve off the Tricolor, resulting in massive oil spill.

These prioritized the rescue operation which was taken over by the Dutch company SMIT Salvage Co. On February 25, 2003, it was reported that the oil recovery operation from the wreck of M/V Tricolor has been completed, which was precisely the oil that can be safely reached & pumped. The salvage team spent 3 months splitting MV Tricolor wreck into 9 sections of 3000 Tonnes each ‘like cheese.’Sections of its hull were taken to Belgian port of Zeebrugge and all the luxurious cars, removed and destroyed. The operation took over a year and was declared completed on October 27, 2004.

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