Ropes made with Dyneema® to the rescue

Photo credit: Tore Nystol (Pilot with the Norwegian Coastal Administration)
A LinkedIn article previously published by Jac Spijkers, Technical & Business Development Manager, Maritime & Industrial Fibers.

On Easter Monday, April 5th, the 4,200 dwt ‘Eemslift Hendrika’, a Dutch lift/cargo ship, got in trouble about 60 nautical miles off the coast of Norway. The ship was en route from Bremerhaven in Germany to Kolvereid on the Norwegian coast. Caught in extremely bad weather and riding in heavy swell, cargo onboard the ship started shifting. The vessel was later set on a steady course away from the coast but after a while, the vessel lost its propulsion and listed 15-30 degrees to starboard. There was an imminent danger that the ship might capsize. The Norwegian authorities initially sent three helicopters and two vessels on the rescue mission. Arriving at the ‘Hendrika’, they reported waves up to 15 meters high and gale-force winds at over 40 mph. Later that day the 12 crew members were safely taken off the ‘Hendrika’ via helicopters.

The ship was now drifting towards the Norwegian coast. There was a risk that that the 112-meter-long ship (carrying 350 tons of heavy fuel oil and 50 tons of diesel) would run aground and pollute sensitive natural areas.

Due to bad weather conditions, traditional means of connecting using steel wire ropes (SWR) were a no-go. Boskalis chartered one Offshore Supply Vessel (OSV) from Solstad Offshore (‘Normand Drott’) , and one tug from Buksér og Berging (‘BB Ocean’) to support the salvage operation. Solstad deployed OSV’s ‘BB Ocean’ and ‘Normand Drott’ to the scene, but not before Solstad contacted our partner, Offshore Trawl & Supply (OTS), to request for two lightweight towlines.

Within four hours, OTS in Norway was able to supply two Dextron® towing ropes made with Dyneema® SK78 for the rescue operation. Both ropes were 200 meters in length and could withstand loads of 200 and 250 tons respectively.

Finally, on Wednesday April 7th, crew from SMIT Salvage (a subsidiary of Boskalis) managed to get on board the ship by helicopter. By then, the vessel was only about 10 nautical miles away from the coast.

In the evening of Wednesday, April 7th, SMIT Salvage managed to connect both Dextron® ropes and secured the ‘Hendrika’. One rope was used between the cargo ship and the tug in front (Normand Drott), and the other one was used for tug ‘BB Ocean’, controlling the rear end of the ship.

To connect the tugs to the cargo ship, messenger lines were transferred via a Coastguard Fast Rescue Boat. This would not have been possible with SWR.

Escorted by the Norwegian Patrol vessel KV Bergen, the tow was safely brought to the port of Ålesund without any pollution to the delicate environment. The rescue operation was an astounding success.

Photo credit: Eirik Klokkersund (Vessel Manager with Solstad Shipping)

Eirik Klokkersund, Vessel Manager at Solstad Offshore, shared a heartfelt message with OTS: “Thank you so much for the fantastic effort and delivery you made on Tuesday 6th April. There are not many, if any who could manage to deliver 2 x DYNEEMA® for emergency towing with over 200-ton MBL as you did this day.”

Arve Helseth, Sales & Marketing Manager at OTS, pointed out that flexibility and quick turnaround time are some of OTS' greatest strengths: “We have one of Europe's most modern factories for rope production here in Valderøya. With skilled employees, flexible production and short lines of command, we have the ability to respond and act quickly,” says Helseth. “There are probably not many others able to deliver such dimensions in such a short time.”

This is not the first time that OTS has contributed to a major rescue operation at sea. When the cruise ship ‘Costa Concordia’ grounded and sank in the Mediterranean in 2012, OTS' ropes were an important success factor in raising the ship. Ropes from OTS were also used in the salvage of the cruise ship ‘Viking Sky’, which was about to drift ashore at Hustadvika during a storm in 2017.

We are heartened by the effort and great work done by all parties involved. During challenging moments such as a rescue operation under extreme conditions, you can trust the Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™, to perform and protect the crew carrying out the arduous tasks.

Dyneema®, with you when it matters. Always.

Jac Spijkers
Technical & Business Development Manager

Published on

01 September 2021

2 min


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