RESOLVE Marine Group, Inc. and its RESOLVE Salvage & Fire (Asia) Pte Ltd. (RESOLVE) subsidiary have announced that wreck removal operations at Kankesanthurai (KKS) Harbour in northern Sri Lanka have been completed. Retained by the Government of India/Shipping Corporation of India, and working on site in cooperation with the Government of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan Navy since June 2011, RESOLVE crews undertook the mapping, removal and disposition of ten vessels which were sunk during the LTTE conflict between 1994 and 2000. The wrecks, lying outside and within the port, had obstructed safe navigation in the area and effectively prevented commercial shipping activity since that time.
As a first effort on site, RESOLVE sonar surveys located and identified individual targets before clearance operations began. Initially contracted to remove the known wreckage of six vessels, RESOLVE encountered four additional vessels inside the Harbour during the survey phase. This additional work -- combined with the approach of the northeast monsoon season -- drove an accelerated project schedule which RESOLVE accomplished by expanding logistics efforts and conducting simultaneous operations inside and outside the breakwater. Given the limited industrial base in the remote location, RESOLVE ultimately supplied all heavy lift equipment, diving resources and experienced technicians while employing a local work force to support on-water operations and facilities construction on shore.
Deteriorating weather and sea conditions brought on by the advancing weather fronts, the severely wasted steel in the sunken vessels and the heavy silt that had accumulated over the years presented significant challenges to raising the wreckage.
Concern for worker safety and risks to floating equipment dictated extreme caution in rigging and lifting each target. Further complicating operations was the discovery of live ammunition at two of the vessel wreck sites.
With completion of the wreck removal phase, dredging and rehabilitation of the breakwater/pier and construction of new pier and port facilities will proceed. It is anticipated that the port rehabilitation project will result in increased trade in the Jaffna peninsula and restoration of economic activity in the Northern Province.