In April 2020, Resolve Marine Alaska (Resolve) mobilized teams and resources in response to a mining platform barge used for placer gold mining that was grounded in shallow water west of Nome Harbor. Response teams executed thawing operations to free the icebound barge as they developed plans to move the 205ft (62m) 1500-ton cargo barge onto the beach and lift the vessel to conduct comprehensive casualty surveys.
With April temperatures around 300f (-10c) warming up in May reaching highs around 500f (100c) and growing restrictions surrounding COVID19 safety, Resolve’s teams successfully adapted their response plans as they overcame unforeseen environmental, logistical, and locational challenges.
Response teams from Resolve’s Dutch Harbor facility transported pumps, hoses, rigging, and spill packages as they commenced ice thawing operations on the vessel drawing 5’ water aft/4’ water forward. Due to the vessel’s proximity to the shoreline and heavy ice conditions, response teams utilized air and land routes to the grounding site transporting heavy-duty equipment used to free and reposition the casualty, secure dead men anchors, prepare for hauling and pulling operations.
Welding and marine services teams prepared the cargo barge for movement while response teams on the beach had to burst through the frost layer to grade the sandy shoreline for hauling and anchor operations. Using Resolve barges and bulldozers, the barge was repositioned enabling teams to pull and stabilize the vessel on the beach.
Even with 1.5-meter roller bags under the hauled vessel, teams only created a 24” clearance from the keel and needed more height to properly place stands under the barge. Additional equipment and crew were secured to elevate the barge with enough clearance for stands fabricated on-site to be placed securing the vessel for repair surveys.
Resolve Marine’s response to the grounded mining barge, executed while adhering to strict safety protocols, required detailed coordination between land and sea operations as they worked together to remove ice debris, secure tow points, prepare beach grading, install dead men, reposition the vessel, pull onshore, and provide additional lift for blocking.
“Working in cold arctic waters, negotiating air and sea logistics, managing heightened safety requirements, and fabricating on-site, created an intricate response scenario for Resolve.” said A.W. McAfee, General Manager – Resolve Alaska, “this is definitely one project where experience and innovation played a key role in our ability to efficiently position the cargo barge for the repair and recovery phase.”
Over the two months, Resolve Marine Alaska successfully executed an intense response operation resulting in the vessel’s stabilized and elevated status on the Nome, Alaska shoreline in preparation for recovery operations.