This story is insane!
December 5, 2012, just off the Dutch coast, the MV Baltic Ace collided with the Corvus J in one of the busiest shipping channels in the world. In 15 minutes the 500-ft long car carrier was resting on the floor of the North sea and nearly half of its crew was lost. The tragedy was far from over though, and a potential for even more loss was very real.
For two years, the shipwreck impeded traffic through the busy channel, threatening to drag more ships to its watery grave. Likewise, the fully loaded carrier threatened the environment with irreparable damage from the some odd 143,000-gallons of oil on board, not to mention the 1,400 cars worth of potentially harmful materials that would not otherwise be there. There was never a doubt that the bottom of this busy channel was not a good final resting place for the ship, but lifting a heavy ship filled with cars and water is not an easy task.
After much planning, a team started the recovery process with the removal of the oil in March of 2014. It took the crew two-weeks to heat the solidified oil and pump it all out. Upon further inspection of the ship's damage, the original plan for removal proved to be impossible and the team went back to the drawing board.
The plan that they came up with was to cut the ship into eight pieces with a wire cutting system passed under the wreck and between two barges. This plan was put into action at the beginning of April 2015. Many of the individual pieces of the ship were able to be removed in single pieces but some fell apart on the way up and a large salvage crane. In all, the recovery of the 13,000 tons of wreckage cost an estimated $73-million, involved 18 ships, and employed more than 150 people. Today, where there once was a dangerous shipwreck, there is now only a clean ocean bed.