ALE lifting company announced that it has completed the load-in of the Sewol ferry, as part of a complex salvage operation in the East China Sea. During the operation, a record-breaking 600 axle lines of self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) was used. At 17,000t, this is the heaviest piece ever to be transported by SPMTs.
According to the company, although the ferry was estimated to weigh 13,000t, the client faced the challenge of moving a ferry in which there was no way of confirming the actual weight and Centre of Gravity (CoG) position, until it was lifted from the sea and positioned onto the barge.
After lifting the ferry and positioning it onto the semi-submersible vessel, the client informed ALE of a 4,000t discrepancy between the weight given by the lifting system and that by the barge carrier.
The ferry was later calculated to weigh 17,000t and, as a result, ALE had the increase the amount of axles from 456 to 600 axle lines at short notice. Within 24 hours, ALE had mobilised the additional 144 axle lines.
Sewol ferry was carrying 476 people when it went down, in April 2014. Of the 304 who were confirmed dead, 250 were students on a school excursion. Once the land transfer operation was complete, preparations for nine passengers who are still missing begun.