For Immediate Release: June 5, 2011
By Geoff S. Fein, Office of Naval Research
ARLINGTON, Va.—Salvage teams used diverse engineering techniques to successfully raise sunken ships and free grounded vessels in Chile, after last year’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami, a Chilean admiral told the audience gathered at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for a May 31 lecture.
Director of programs, research and development for the Chilean navy, Rear Adm. Giancarlo Stagno Canziani led the naval recovery operation in the port of Talcahuano after the February 2010 8.8- magnitude earthquake. Stagno, who culturally uses his paternal surname, was the latest speaker in ONR’s ongoing Distinguished Lecture Series.
With damage to several navy vessels and a vital shipyard, Stagno said his experts were faced with a daunting task. “We had no idea how we would do the job,” he said.
Talcahuano is home to a naval base as well as ASMAR Shipbuilding and Ship Repair’s main shipyard. More than 250 personnel, including crews from the grounded vessels, participated in the work.
The tsunami waves had either grounded or sunk the missile ship Chipana (LM-31), decommissioned destroyer Almirante Cochrane (DLH-12), General Service Barge Pisagua (BSG-116) and ferry BRT Sobene. Additionally, three floating docks were pushed up onto piers, and one of those structures, the Young, contained a submarine.
To move the Young without damaging the boat took an engineering feat, Stagno said. The structure, which was precariously perched on land, could not be lifted, so the crew cut some of the pier and placed metal plates beneath it. Roller bags were eventually added to enable the Young to slide into the water. The entire effort took four months and was successfully completed on July 14, 2010, Stagno said.
Since the earthquake, the Chilean navy has decided to move its logistics facilities, munitions depot and housing to higher ground, Stagno said.
Dr. Larry Schuette, ONR’s director of innovation and sponsor of the lecture series, said he admired the Chilean navy’s innovation. “Recall last year’s mine explosion experience? The Chilean navy actually built the capsule that brought the 33 trapped miners up,” he said.
Now in its third year, ONR’s Distinguished Lecture Series stimulate leading-edge discussion and collaboration among scientists and engineers representing Navy research, the Department of Defense, industry and academia. Previous lectures focused on innovation in India, the critical need for basic scientific research and new approaches to coordinating scientific collaboration among federal agencies.
About the Office of Naval Research
The Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.