One of the few vessels that called at Valletta, Malta was the 800 ton lifting capacity floating sheerleg TAKLIFT 1 owned by Smit Internationale, Netherlands.
She was built in the Netherlands by Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij as yard no 328 in Rotterdam in 1969 and was homeported at Rotterdam flying the dutch (NLD) flag.
Sheerlegs are commonly used during salvage operations, assistance in shipbuilding, loading/discharging large cargo into ships, and bridge building. They have grown considerably larger over the last decades due to a marked increase in vessel, cargo, and component size (of ships, offshore oil rigs, and other large fabrications), resulting in heavier lifts both during construction and in salvage operations.
TAKLIFT 1 was used for several operations including debris clearance in 2007, following the 2005 Katrina and Rita hurricanes; wreck removal of the HYUNDAI No 105, a 1986 built vehicle carrier from October 2010 to December 2011
She was seen in Malta for the wreck removal of the armed Norwegian merchant ship TALABOT that built in 1986 and on 26th March 1942 during the Second World War she was bombed and wrecked by German aircraft at Valletta. TALABOT sank at her berth, but her main deck being just visible beneath the surface. As the new Crucifix Wharf (now Valletta Cruise Port) neared completion it was imperative to clear the central fairway of remaining wartime wreckage and unexploded ordnance…. For a while there was disagreement between the Maltese and British Governments over methods and means and the USSR sent the salvage tug AMETIST to survey the wrecks. The dispute was eventually resolved and Royal Navy divers assisted in the recovery of the heaviest item of all – part of the double bottom of the TALABOT.
TAKLIFT 1 lifted the remaining part on July 26th 1985 when part of the double bottom of TALABOT weighing about 500 tons was brought to the surface. The double bottom had been identified earlier on and 20 Maltese and 5 Royal Navy divers removed excess mud and passed steel wires underneath it before lifting could commence. A number of 250lb bombs and 4-inch gun shells were found.
Photos by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com