Ocean and Coastal Management Speaker Series
Tuesday, September 6, 6:00pm-7:30pm
McGowan Building (411 Pacific Street, Monterey, CA 93940) Room 102

The Risky Business of Marine Salvage
Daniel Porter:  Salvage Master / Licensed Captain, Koole Mammoet Salvage Americas

DanPorter.530x445.CenterForTheBlueEconomy.Speaker2016About the Topic:  Marine salvage does not fit into a tidy description.  Marine salvage does not fit into a tidy description.  There are only two things that all salvage projects seem to have in common:  ships and the ocean.  Each is different in circumstances and goals, has its unique challenges in engineering, weather, local people and politics.  Companies often find themselves bidding on expensive and dangerous jobs where key information is not available.  Often the environment where the ship wrecked is poorly known.  The main thing that drives salvage is money.  Salvage is expensive, yet people want their ocean and their shorelines to be perfectly clean.  In the wake of a maritime accident, the ability of local people to force shipping companies to clean up varies widely.  The problem of endemic corruption in some parts of the world further complicates things.  

Mr. Porter will discuss the factors which contribute to shipwrecks, and the role that policy makers have in preventing them.  Shipping companies often "re-flag" older ships in countries where inspection regimes and standards are weaker.   Those ships are often crewed by seaman from all over the world, where training and competence standards are lower, and maritime licenses can be bought rather than earned.  In some cases, the officers and crews don't even share a common language.  Competence of crews, and maintenance of vessels can be a serious issue.  Running ships well costs money.  False savings on crews and maintenance is often a factor in maritime disasters.

Vessels which are no longer viable end up being abandoned in places like Mauritania, or dumped in the ship graveyard on the shoals in the middle of Montevideo's bay.  Famously, there are the ship breakers working on the beaches of India, without safety or environmental controls.    

The international community has an important role in protecting the seas, and special places like the Galápagos.  Local resistance to international "do-gooders" can be vitriolic, and there are serious issues of national sovereignty which can cloud the issue.  These are issues requiring not only both legal and diplomatic efforts.  This talk will examine a case study to give a thumbnail sketch of the challenges involved in ship salvage, and how competing interests, politics, and issues culpability can complicate a salvage job.  

About the Speaker:  Dan has been a USCG Licensed Captain for 30 years.  Much of that time he was overall manager of marine operations for mix fleets of tugs, supply boats, crew boats, barges and small craft.  He worked as an able seaman and engineer and before being issued his first captain’s license, giving him a complete understanding of operations and maintenance from the bottom up. 

Related Link:  Mammoet Salvage: Zalinski Operation – YouTube