The two parts of the wrecked bulk carrier OS 35 made a spectacular passage through the port and locks of IJmuiden. Sitting atop the semi-submersible barge Fjord and towed from Gibraltar to IJmuiden by Boskalis anchor handling tug Seraya, the convoy arrived in Amsterdam’s gateway on a sunny afternoon in mid-August 2023.

Martijn van Wijngaarden with OS 35 transport
Ir Martijn van Wijngaarden.

This lockside eye witness report was written and photographed by ir Martijn van Wijngaarden (pictured on the right), independent marine consultant and SWZ|Maritime guest editor, For SWZ|Maritime’s September issue, Van Wijngaarden will write an article about the recycling of the OS 35 at Decom. It has been a long time since such a large ship was scrapped in the Netherlands.

Three weeks earlier the strange looking transport had left Gibraltar, where Dutch firm Koole Contractors had successfully completed the salvage of the grounded bulker OS 35 and its cargo of iron rebar.

Having Fjord with its unsightly cargo chunks delivered safely between the IJmuiden breakwaters, seagoing tug Seraya handed the towing bridle over to leading Amsterdam harbour tug Telstar for the passage through the new IJmuiden locks to the Noordzeekanaal. Destination was the Decom Amsterdam recycling yard where Fjord would moor up to allow detailed inspection and preparation of a proper plan for recycling the entire wrecked cargo ship.

OS 35 transport IJmuiden

Also read: Both sections of OS 35 wreck removed from the water

Salvage by Koole

The bulker OS 35, loaded with steel rebar, sank in August last year after a collision with an LNG tanker in the port of Gibraltar. The wreckage was towed outside the channel and grounded in 20 metres of water by flooding ballast tanks.

Koole Contractors began the salvage operation late last year with the unloading of the approximately 34,000 tonnes of rebar by a barge mounted crane. First the wreck’s hatch covers and crane booms were removed to gain access to the five cargo holds. The deckhouse that stuck out above water was completely stripped when the hull was aground.

OS 35 transport IJmuiden

The seawater corroded steel cargo was disposed of to Overdie Metals in Zaandam. Bunkers were removed by the salvors. A severe storm separated the broken hull in two parts. These were successfully salvaged in calm weather conditions by hoisting them onto Koole’s semi-submerged barge Fjord.

OS 35 transport IJmuiden

Also read: Operation to lift bow of OS 35 shipwreck underway

Manoeuvring through locks

Lead tug Telstar proved its mastership in safely manoeuvring the bulky lift barge Fjord and its oversized cargo through IJmuiden, never touching the new lock’s sides. Its performance impressed the many old sailors amongst the crowd watching from shore during the technical afternoon weather in Holland’s premier locks.

OS 35 transport IJmuiden

The IJmuiden locks complex currently has four locks to provide access to the Port of Amsterdam for a variety of seagoing ships. The recently inaugurated central sea locks are the world’s largest by dimensions. They measure 500 metres long, 70 metres wide and 18 metres deep. Dutch locals and foreign tourists visit the expansive locks facilities by bicycle.

Also read: Gibraltar Port Authority reveals OS 35 wreck removal plan


Telstar is an EDDY type hybrid tug ordered for the greater Amsterdam harbour area by Iskes Towage & Salvage. EDDY stands for Efficiency Double-ended DYnamic. Ahead and astern speed of this well-balanced omnidirectional tug are the same. Telstar has the highest bollard pull in the combined fleet of Port Towage Amsterdam, now a subsidiary of Svitzer.

OS 35 transport IJmuiden
OS 35 transport IJmuiden

This very capable and energy efficient tug was designed and built by Holland Shipyards in 2016. It was developed as a spinoff from the Joint Industry Project SafeTug. During the Fjord passage through the locks and the Noordzeekanaal, two trailing tugs assisted in steering and position keeping, the powerful Svitzer harbour tugs Amstel and Jupiter.

OS 35 transport IJmuiden

Koole Contractors also released a video of the special transport:

Also read: Hull of partially sunk bulk carrier OS 35 in Gibraltar breaks