Oil gone from Sweden’s most environmentally dangerous wreck

Skytteren has been classified as Sweden’s most environmentally dangerous wreck. Now 175,000 liters of oil and water mixed with oil have been removed from the wreck outside Lysekil.

Skytteren which is located in an archipelago with very sensitive nature, is thus drained of oil.

It feels very satisfying to know that this large amount of oil will not leak out and affect the marine environment, says Mats Svensson, head of the marine management department at the Swedish Maritime and Water Authority, HaV, which has financed the work.

In the middle of September 2021, work started on taking up the oil. The Danish company JD Contractor was commissioned by HaV. The work has been complicated and took time, it also had to be paused during the winter due to bad weather. After about six days of intensive diving work at the end of April, the wreck has now been emptied.

Carefully prepared work

Skytteren is located at a depth of approximately 74 meters with an occasionally strong bottom and surface current. The wreck has been carefully examined on several previous occasions to make the salvage operation as efficient as possible. In November 2018, HaV carried out a major operation together with the Swedish Armed Forces. In the summer of 2020, further work was carried out. With a system camera mounted on an underwater robot, all parts of the wreck were digitally documented in close-up with almost 27,000 overlapping images.

Heat the oil

The clean-up work has been carried out with divers and an underwater robot. The divers have drilled into the spaces where the oil is found and then pump it up to the work vessel at the surface.

– Some of the oil has been viscous and difficult to handle. Then you have had to heat the tanks to make the oil easy to flow and possible to get up, explains Fredrik Lindgren, investigator at HaV.

Cleared on ghost yarn

In addition to the oil, the wreck has also been cleaned of so-called ghost nets. They are lost fishing gear left on the seabed, catching fish and other marine animals to no avail.

– Six ghost nets with a total length of 120 – 180 meters have been taken up, says Fredrik Lindgren.

HaV’s work with environmentally hazardous wrecks continues. More wrecks are to be drained of oil in 2022.