Shipwrecks pose a very real threat to both navigational safety and the marine environment. Their impact can be significant, particularly when they come to rest in shallow waters.
The presence of a wreck impacts the water channel by redirecting sediment around the wreck rather than sending it back to shore in its natural pattern.
This disruption causes instability and rapid erosion along the coastline. It can also result in the collapse of vegetation and infrastructure, significantly impacting the lives and wellbeing of local people.
Wrecks are a real problem for an undisclosed region of West Africa, where up to 100 abandoned vessels are positioned along the coastline.
This number is constantly on the increase, as many poorly maintained and barely seaworthy transport vessels operate in the area. When disaster strikes, these vessels are often left unclaimed by owners, leaving authorities to initiate the clean up.
IALA guidelines recommend the deployment of emergency wreck markers within 24 to 72 hours of the wreck occurring, followed by a more permanent buoyage such as isolated danger marks or cardinal marks. Navigational charts should then be updated accordingly.
West Africa recently introduced an act applying to the receipt and removal of shipwrecks in the region. A National Maritime Administration was appointed to facilitate the assessment, marking, and removal of wrecks within a strategic timeline.
The project was to undertake the marking of longstanding wrecks within four main pilotage districts. Factors needing to be considered were:
Above all, the main aim of the project was to ensure the highest level of safety for vessels navigating within these four districts.
In partnership with our approved local installation partner, Axcess Marine, Sealite helped to define the project requirements and subsequently selected the most suitable equipment for the installation.
Axcess Marine were able to apply their local knowledge of the region to the task. This was vital information given the challenges of its location and the tough climatic conditions.
SL-B1500 buoys were selected for the following reasons:
The SL-C415 marine lanterns were chosen and matched to a larger battery than is standard. This was required due to the tropical climate and the aggressive flash character needed for wreck markers. These customisations enabled Sealite to achieve the range of 5NM the project required.
The SL-C415 lantern collects light from all angles using the four premium-grade solar modules integrated into its assembly. The light can be seen clearly from above when passing the AtoN due to its tough polycarbonate lens.
To help support regional jobs and the wider community, concrete sinkers were sourced and fabricated locally.
Anti-theft hardware was also used to protect against the threat of local theft and vandalism with the unprecedented rise of incidents in recent years, throughout the African region.
The product know-how of Sealite combined with the local experience of Axcess Marine meant a timely, cost-effective solution was delivered. This solution met all the requirements of the project outline.
The supply of wreck markers, moorings, and a custom lantern battery demonstrates Sealite’s ability to deliver bespoke solutions, no matter the individual project needs.
The newly installed wreck markers in the four main pilotage districts now help ensure the highest level of safety for marine vessels. At the same time, the process to initiate the breakdown and removal of dangerous regional wrecks can proceed unhindered.
“The Sealite products used were of good construction, easy to assemble, and were supplied with hardware and tools to assist with assembly. The instructions provided for setting the lantern characteristics were easy to read and follow…”
— Lionel Cooper, Managing Director – Axcess Marine Contractors Ltd
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