Refloating the container ship Ever Given in the Suez Canal will not earn dredging firm and maritime services provider Boskalis millions. ‘This has no effect on Boskalis’ annual profit,’ says CEO Peter Berdowski. He is, however, aware of the extra publicity the job can generate.
The company does not wish to provide any information about the financial benefits of the job for Boskalis. According to Berdowski, the costs incurred by Boskalis in refloating the ship are not too high. ‘We hired dozens of people and a number of ocean-going tugboats.These are not costs running into millions, rather into the hundreds of thousands. This was a relatively small salvage operation, not the most difficult either, but one with great exposure. With this we have shown the world what we stand for as a company in the full breadth and expertise of salvage.’
The Boskalis CEO went on to say that the dredging company had been approached by the Suez Canal authority, which knows the salvage company from previous jobs. In addition, the salvage world in shipping is small, he says. ‘We know all the ship owners and all the ship insurers. We are very well-connected in that network, which is also why we are approached so quickly. Because everyone knows that Smit Salvage must be called when you have an urgent job. Everyone there will also have expected Smit to come and help.’
Dutch company Smit Salvage is the specialist subsidiary of Boskalis, which was involved in the operation. It involved dredging and the deployment of eleven ordinary tugs and two powerful ocean-going tugs.
Boskalis has its own tracking system with which it monitors shipping around the world and can quickly see where ships are in trouble. The Ever Given ran aground last Tuesday in a sandstorm in the southern part of the Suez Canal.
The ship, owned by a Japanese shipowner, but sailing in the service of a Taiwanese company, is one of the largest container ships in the world with a length of 400 metres and a width of almost 60 metres. As a result, it is very sensitive to crosswinds. When the ship was grounded, it rested against both banks of the canal.
Picture by Suez Canal Authority.