I just did a Google search for an oceanic salvage periodical called "Tug Magazine" and was surprised to see it didn't return anything filthy. In any case I've been reading about the MV Tricolor, a huge Norwegian freighter carrying 2,800 BMWs, Volvos and Saabs that went down in the English Channel in 2002 after colliding with another ship.
In a way, this was worse than those cargo ship disasters: Because the Tricolor crashed in a high-traffic shipping lane, it was subsequently hit by not one, not two, but three more freaking ships.
If this wasn't submerged, you probably would've heard a lot of car alarms going off all at once
The authorities needed to get the ship out of the way. And when you need to remove a 50,000-ton ship that's longer than two football fields, it's not like you call a guy named Lenny who has a tow truck. Instead they turned to Smit International, a Dutch company that specializes in tricky ocean salvage work.
Is there anything the Dutch can't do? Smit's eggheads realized they'd never be able to hoist the ship out in one piece, so the only solution was to slice it up like a loaf of bread and pull the slices out one by one. To accomplish this, they used a trick they'd used two years earlier, when they were hired to salvage Russia's doomed Kursk submarine. What Smit did was to build two platforms on either side of the wreck, then break out a big-ass cable coated in Widia, a type of sintered tungsten carbide.
If there were two of these ropes, I guess that would make this "Double Dutch" (cue rimshot)
The cable was then connected to one platform, and somehow routed underneath the ship—which was resting on the ocean floor, some 30 meters down—then attached to the other platform. It's true that I have a poor grasp of Dutch sea-salvage methodologies, but I'm willing to bet the guy who had to go under the ship with the cable was The New Guy.
"I said I really don't want to do this, Vincent." —"Shut up, Jens, we've got seniority."
"Jesus, is that a shark? That better not be a shark."
"I am having second thoughts about sending Jens down there--I just remembered he owes me 50 euros. Or was that 30. No, it was 50."
Then the cable was tensioned and pulled back and forth between the two platforms—essentially turning into a huge (Trump pronunciation: "yuge") saw, steadily moving upwards and slicing away.
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By repeating this procedure another seven times, they were able to slice the ship into nine neat pieces. The awesome thing about this is it's not like they knew or cared where the cars were inside, so there were like, BMWs and Saabs just getting ripped in half during the process.
A Volvo XC90 turned into an XC45
"Hello, Mr. Jones? This is Bill from Springfield BMW. I know you said you couldn't afford the 535, but a situation has come up and we may be able to get you into one for significantly less"
Each piece was then hoisted out of the water.
Unable to reach consensus on whether red or yellow looks better, the two crane teams agree to disagree
"Asian Hercules II" sounds like the title of a straight-to-video movie
The ship section is held in place while workers prepare to try kicking a soccer ball through the opening
Then the pieces were placed on barges and towed back to shore, where they were eventually scrapped.
"Yes, Jens, 'a boat on a boat,' it's very meta, I get it. If you say it one more time I'm going to throw you over the side"
Workers carefully position a section of the ship so that it will crush Jens' tent with all of his belongings inside
A pair of Dutch workers reflect on how awesome Dutch problem-solving is while lamenting that no one wants to learn their language
"As I've said before, yes, I do find the red-colored cranes more pleasing to the eye, but I don't see how that's relevant to this interview."
I'm told that as a final prank, the workers gathered all of the crushed cars and left them on Jens' front lawn.
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