On December 5, 2012, the car carrier Baltic Ace sank in the North Sea with more than 1,400 cars on board after a collision with a container ship near the entrance of the main shipping channel leading to port of Rotterdam, claiming the lives of 11 crew members.
The ship came to rest at a depth of just 35 meters, posing a threat both to the environment and navigation in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
For the salvage, the Dutch Government hired maritime services provider Royal Boskalis Westminster and its partner Mammoet Salvage, who were given the deadline of December 31, 2015 for the complete removal of the wreck and all cars.
The project began in 2014 with the original plan to cut the ship into six large sections and lift them individually to the surface, but inspections revealed that the structures were too weak, forcing salvors to come up with an alternative method. Below is a detailed look at how they ended up pulling it off from SMIT Salvage: