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Period: 2005 till 2007
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- Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN), more, co-ordinator
The aim of this project is the study, design (including costing, planning, deployment procedures etc) and validation of an EU reference method for the prompt and cost-effective intervention and remediation of tanker wrecks dealing with eventual leaks and recuperating the fuel trapped in their tanks even at considerable depths. The proposed method will be of general applicability as long the trapped pollutant does not dissolve and is of lower density than sea water.
The envisaged solution relies on gravity forces to channel the flux of spilt fuel towards the surface.
This is achieved by means of a light, quickly deployable flexible structure that should stay in place until all the tanks of the wreck are emptied and the pollution threat eliminated.
The leaking fuel is collected by a kind of inverted funnel, consisting of fabric dome solidly anchored around and covering completely the wreck. The collected fuel is channelled, along with sea water, through a long, flexible riser tube (typical diameter: 1.5 – 2 meters) into a second inverted funnel close (30-50 m) to the sea surface. This second inverted funnel acts like separator and buffer reservoir (B), so has the function of a terminal buoy T, which keeps the whole riser line in tension and provides for a rapid periodical unloading to a shuttle tanker.
DIFIS, if successful, aims at a European reference method on how to promptly intervene on wrecks in the case of maritime accidents.
It will have an important impact on existing or new EU or IMO regulations on how to handle potential catastrophes as that of ERIKA or PRESTIGE.