ABSTRACT:

In November 2002, the Prestige oil tanker sank in 3,850 meters of water depth offshore Spain carrying some 77,000 tons of heavy fuel. During the sinking, and for a period of several months, a large amount of fuel was spilt and ended up mainly in the shores of Galicia (Northwest Spain).Repsol YPF was appointed by the Spanish government to recover the fuel remaining in the wreck. Later Repsol YPF selected Sonsub as the main contractor This paper describes the development performed for the upgrading, testing and approval of 150 HP workclass Sonsub Innovator ROVs to permit operations to be performed in water depths up to 4,000 meters and the offshore operations that were carried out to recover the fuel oil in the wreck.These operations entailed the use of innovative deepwater equipment and procedures, both due to the water depth and the atypical activities that needed to be performed, including the involvement of numerous vessels on surface, simultaneous ROV operations in nearly 4,000 meters, the tapping onto the wreck's tanks, the production of extremely viscous fuel into specially designed shuttles, the recovery of these shuttles to surface and emptying them into a DP FSO

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