OCEAN DREAM SHIPWRECK
The Gulf of Siam’s biggest shipwreck
Sunk 28 February 2016
aka ‘Spirit of London, 1972-1974,
Sun Princess, 1974-1988,
Majestic, Starship Majestic, 1988-1994
Southern Cross, 1995-1998
Flamenco, New Flamenco, Flamenco-1, 2008-1010
Ocean Dream, 2012-2016
Written by Stephen Burton (Pattaya, Thailand)
The wreck lays on her port side partialy submerged in 12 meters of water 1nm distant of the North end of Laem Chabang breakwater in the main anchorage
Suitable for air, nitrox, wreck penetration diving (with port authorities permission)
GRT 17,042 Tons, Length: 163 meters, Beam: 23 meters, draught 7 meters
Crew abuse article while at Anchor, Laem Chabang, Thailand
Recovery of the Ocean Dream : Attempts
Including… “Lets try to pull it upright with a few fishing boats”
OK – So how many fishing boats will you need?
Here’s the maths:-
Firstly – Consider the wreck status below to get a better idea of the forces involved
Salvage of the Ocean Dream shipwreck – Up-righting the vessel simple math
I have surveyed the wreck site of the Ocean Dream wreck during 2016. It immediately occurred to me that it’s not the first time that a wreck of this size has been salvaged – in fact the US Navy righted several other much larger capsized shipwrecks nearly 80 years ago after the Pearl Harbor fiasco.
The engineering math predicts a massive operation is involved. The massive 113,500 ton Costa Concordia had recently been up-righted and recovered at an estimated final cost of 2 Billion US-Dollars or USD17,621 / ton.
Accordingly, on a pro-rate basis, the recovery of the Ocean Dream would cost about 17.042 tons x USD17,621 = 300 Million USD. The recovered steel value (@ USD125/ton) would be a negligible 17,042 tons x USD125 = USD2.1 Million (Summer 2016 prices)
A problem aggravating the recovery of the Ocean Dream shipwreck is that it is nowhere near land (it is approx 2km distant) and this fact complicates things significantly.
The math(see figure above) predicts that a simple ‘at sea’ righting operation attempting to upright the wreck would require at least 221 ocean going 3,200 horse power harbour tugs with 40 ton bollard pull capacity such as the vessel below…
However, there are not that many 3,200 horse power tugs of this massive size in the whole of South East Asia pacific region, and were not even available to the United States Navy for the Pearl Harbour salvage & recovery operations – so this is not a viable option.
There are smaller local Thai fishing boats that could be used, however these are typically only 320hp (They use old Hino truck engines for power) – and it would thus take 2,210 Thai fishing boats (of at least 320hp) all pulling simultaneously to right the wreck. This is roughly the entire Thai fishing fleet (of this vessel size) covering both the Gulf of Siam and Andaman Sea.
In all reality then, any attempt to right this vessel and pump her out by a simple tug boat approach is a non starter.
To understand how the salvage should be done, study the following 10-20,000 ton wreck recovery technique successfully used to salvage and refloat the capsized hulk that was the 13,600 ton ‘Herald of Free Enterprise’ on 6 March 1987 – this also sank in almost identical 11 meter depth water.
A video detailing the recovery is shown here The salvage of the Herald of Free Enterprise
The maths and finances in the figure above thus makes for an interesting study, and encourages a better understanding of the size of the project needed to right this vessel and the finances that need to be committed to the project for it to be possible.
Your comments are welcome. Meanwhile…
- It is most likely that neither the capability or finance is available in Thailand at this time to complete the salvage operation.
- Additionally the low $125/ton value(summer 2016) price of steel makes the salvage not worthwhile to any 3rd party contractors interested in any scrap metal deal.
- Accordingly, it is highly unlikely that the salvage/removal of the Ocean Dream will take place, and she will be left to rust into the sea at the Laem Chabang Port Anchorage.
Stephen Burton C.Eng.,