Progress over the last 10-days on site has been good with marked improvement in the hull plate removal rate and excavations of overburden.
Perseverance and determination are the two words that spring to mind when it comes to this wreck as BGL has worked its equipment to the absolute limits in the attempts to break through the ice-class hull plating which still remains incredibly strong. The wreck is too deep to receive any form of daylight and with salvage activities always disturbing the silt in and around the wreck, it has made for difficulties in understanding what progress had been made and what was required moving forward. However, using multibeam echosounder systems to periodically scan the work areas of the wreck and by comparing the results to former scans; this gave a very clear 3-dimensional images of the works completed and where work was needed in the immediate future.
As mentioned in the previous update, the weather progressively worsened over recent weeks with each spell becoming more severe and prolonged. The recent Storm Diana had the salvage vessel running for cover as 75 knot winds and huge seas hit the region surrounding the wreck site. As this storm was moving in slightly ahead of the charter period completion date, BGL decided to suspend any further charter time and temporarily demobilise. BGL salvage is very close to the hold where it believes the target cargo to be but is now assessing the weather options via the Mermaid weather risk system intent on returning to site as soon as possible.
The decision to mobilise late in the season was a calculated risk as BGL understood the weather would be an issue. However, the cheaper vessel charter rates and greater availability of suitable salvage vessels allowed more time on site and better progress to be made than the shorter term and more expensive options available during the summer months. BGL is now planning an early return to site with a full understanding of the works required to complete operations on this target.