During a violent storm chemical product tanker ‘Gelso M’ lost main propulsion and was lost on the rocks of Capo Santo Panagio, Sicily. SMIT Salvage in cooperation with local partner Augustea mobilised a salvage team and tug, anti-pollution equipment.

After the sea conditions settled it was concluded that the casualty had sustained catastrophic fatal damage and could not be refloated. Therefore the response focussed on pollutant removal. Because the vessel tanks were not gas-free the inert condition had to be restored after which cargo remained; 300 cubic metres of bunkers and smaller items such as batteries, paint and cargo samples were discharged to shore. To complete the operation the cargo spaces were ventilated and a gas-free certificate was issued by the Port Chemist.

Three weeks after the grounding the vessel was considered free of pollutants and a tender process for the wreck removal was started. During this process oil booms remained onsite and the wreck's condition was monitored continuously. SMIT Salvage together with its main Italian partner are contracted to remove the wreck which is scheduled to commence in Q2 2013.

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