Britannias Gold – Update 21/01/2019

Moving into 2019 to continue the 2018 salvage campaign, BGL intends returning to the Neptune site as soon as suitable weather allows.

As you will know from the updates supplied during the recent campaign, the salvage team had great difficulty breaking through the wreck’s hull plate owing to the extremely high tensile steel. The team did manage to finally remove approximately 90% of the hull material in the cargo stowage region but the final 10% is still to be removed to give clear vertical access. This will allow for the removal of the overburden that covers the cargo and then the retrieval of the latter.

After detailed salvage “post mortems”, BGL is now lining up equipment that will allow it to efficiently complete work on Neptune and move on to the next targets. The marine oil and gas industry is decommissioning platforms in greater numbers as oil wells start to dry up and the tooling required to undertake this type of operation is now tried and tested and widely available. Specifically, BGL is working with shareholder James Fisher and Sons Plc to tailor an Ultra-High-Pressure water cutting system to our needs; these systems work at pressures in excess of 2500 bar and are able to cut through very thick steel at high speed. The salvage team has experience of using such systems from its involvement in the recovery of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk.

With the next targets BGL will move onto during the 2019 season very much in mind, BGL is investing in further tooling that will give greater dexterity and flexibility in its operations. For example, in order to remove the decks efficiently from shipwrecks, adopting and using a design specific Deck Crushing Tool (DCT) will be best. With the same basic principles as a grab, the DCT is able to lock on to deck structure and use its 1500 ton closing force capacity to crush the deck materials, breaking them off the vessels. This will give BGL far greater efficiency over the use of a standard grab alone.

BGl’s standard equipment is currently undergoing maintenance and repair in Scotland and will be made ready in time for the planned departure back to Neptune this spring. Furthermore, all new equipment will be ready in good time after modification works and will be fully tried and tested.

Our marine brokers are currently assessing suitable salvage vessel availability to cover the entire duration of operations in 2019 and the equipment will be engineered in advance around the chosen vessel.

Preparing for this next salvage programme will inevitably involve downtime although as stated earlier, BGL intends returning as soon as the weather clears; this is unlikely to be before mid-late February.

During that time, BGL will report on any relevant developments but also keep shareholders appraised of continuing research into Sovereign risk and support and our continuing plans to ensure all National and Marine authorities are made aware of our risk management procedures on issues such as pollution etc.