Countryman & McDaniel -  The Logistics - Customs Broker Attorney

"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"  


"Thrice Bitten"

Feature Date: March, 2003

Countryman & McDaniel

 The Air & Ocean Logistics- Customs Broker Attorneys

"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"

On The Scene -- In The English Channel

 The 2003 Countryman & McDaniel

Cargo Nightmare 3rd Place Prize Winner

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"Thrice Bitten".

On The Scene

In The English Channel

Dec. 14 AND 15 2002 AND Jan.1 2003

The Cargo Nightmare 3rd Place Prize Winner !

The Time: Sat. Dec. 14 2002

AND AGAIN Sun. Dec. 15 2002
AND AGAIN Wed. Jan.1 2003

The Place: 30 miles E. of Ramsgate, UK - The Channel

M/V Tricolor

Vessel Type: - Roll-On, Roll-Off (Ro-Ro)

Registry: Norwegian

Gross Tonnage: 49,792 MT

Length: 109 meters

Beam: 32 meters

Capacity: 6,050 cars

Decks: 4 hoistable decks

Ramp Width: 12 meters

Ramp Height: 6.40 meters

Crew: 24

Built: Japan in 1987

Date Vessel Entered Fleet:

Wallenius Wilhelmsen took delivery of

4 advanced Ro-Ro new buildings in 2000-01.

"Once Bitten" a song for the lost M/V Tricolor


"Somebody said that I'm a loner

Well I guess that could be

See I was Bitten by a stranger

To much for someone like me

I know it was wrong

Now there's one thing for sure

It happened to me, but it won't happen anymore"


"Cos' I've been bitten before, so I won't take anymore

I know when there's trouble, I'm once bitten twice shy

Well I've been bitten before, so I won't say anymore

Life's full of trouble, 'till you're once bitten twice shy"


Music, lyrics & vocal melody: Ian Parry

Proud Pre-Bitten M/V Tricolor In Better Days


From The Cargo Letter of Sat. Dec. 14 2002 >>
Norwegian-registered Wilhelmsen Lines ro/ro M/V Tricolor, Zebrugge, Belgium, for Southampton with 2,862 cars & 77 containers, in collision with Bahamas-registered 577-foot container M/V Kariba, 30 miles E. of Ramsgate, England. Tricolor sank --- resting on the bottom of Channel, but only partly submerged because tide low. Kariba returning to Antwerp, Belgium escorted by Belgian warship & French coast guard. Bad year for Ro/Ro's. Tricolor worth about £25M (US$40M) & cargo up to £31M (US$49M). (Posted Sat. Dec. 14 2002)

Official - From Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines AS. >>

"There were no personal injuries when the Norwegian car carrier TRICOLOR collided at 02:30 hrs. Dec. 14 in the English Channel with the Bahamas registered container vessel KARIBA.

"The damage on TRICOLOR was so extensive that the vessel sank at approx. 05:00 hrs. local time and the vessel is now situated at approx. 25 meters depth. TRICOLOR was carrying 2,862 cars & 77 units of RoRo-cargo on its way from Zeebrugge to Southampton when the collision occurred. KARIBA was damaged above the water line and is now headed for Antwerp. The crew of 24 persons onboard TRICOLOR consists of a Norwegian Captain, a Swedish Cargo Superintendent & 22 Filipinos.

"Onboard TRICOLOR were approx. 2,000 tons of bunker oil and according to information received from the French authorities, no oil has leaked from the vessel so far. We are cooperating closely with the French authorities.

"After the collision, the tugboat BOXER, being in the proximity, rendered assistance & picked up 21 of the crew of TRICOLOR. The other 3 were picked up by KARIBA.

"TRICOLOR is owned by Capital Bank Plc. UK, and is (er, "was") on a long-term charter to Wilhelmsen Lines Shipowning AS, Norway. The vessel is managed by the Norwegian company Barber Ship Management AS, and operated by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines AS."

So, on Dec. 14 2002 M/V Tricolor with its US$49M cargo of almost 3,000 new BMWs, Volvos & Saabs -- the vessel lay just below the surface -- in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes

Images of the scene bore a chilling resemblance to the aftermath of the sinking of the passenger ferry M/V Herald of Free Enterprise in 1987 near Zeebrugge harbor.

Vessels using this busiest world shipping lane were warned of this sunken wreck blocking the route. A UK Coastguard boat remained alongside to alert other ships to the Tricolor's presence.

But heavy fog was preventing a salvage operation assessment from been carried out. While shipping was being warned of the 50,000-ton, 200-meter ship obstacle, "the Dover Straits were expected to continue as normal," the French Coastguard said. Normal?

Salvage Vessel Asian Hercules
95 meter Dutch Antilles registered 3,000gt M/V Nicola (built 2001), La Coruna in N. Spain for Rotterdam with 7 crew, ran down the sunken Tricolor on Dec. 15 2002. The Nicola was stuck on top of The Tricolor for several hours before being pulled free by two tugs on Monday Dec.16 morning. A team of 8 & a vessel from salvage company Smit Tak were in position 20 miles E. of the Kent coast to check Tricolor for oil leaks, but high winds & strong sea currents prevented divers from going down to the wreck to assess damage on Dec, 15 2002.

The 80gt French patrol vessel Geranium (P720), sent from Cherbourg, came alongside Tricolor to alert other ships to wreck. A single buoy marked the spot. THERE WILL BE NO FURTHER COLLISIONS, vowed the French!


Diver Support Vessel M/V NORMAND FLOWER of SMIT Salvage Co
From The Cargo Letter of Wed., Jan. 1 2003 >>
'Turkish-registered 800-foot M/T Vicky (built in 1981), Antwerp, Belgium for New York with 2 million gallons of kerosene & 24 crew, struck wreckage of sunken car transporter M/V Tricolor<<webfeature in the English Channel Jan. 1 -- but was freed after more than 2 hours -- Tricolor, laden with BMWs, Volvos & Saabs, sank Dec. 15, after colliding in thick fog with a container ship 30 miles east of Ramsgate, southeastern England, ^ salvage efforts continue. How the hell do you hit this now well known wreck?" (Posted Wed, Jan. . 1 2003)
No Injuries -- Damage Estimates US$49M For Cargo Alone
Wreck Stabilized>>
On 25 February 2003 SMIT Salvage Co. reported that oil recovery operation on the wreck of M/V Tricolor has been completed. That means that all oil that can be safely reached & pumped has now been removed. Less than 5 % of the original quantity of bunker/diesel remains on board and will be recovered in conjunction with the upcoming salvage operation. The 960 meter Diver Support Vessel MPSV Normand Flower has left site & returned to Rotterdam to unload oil pumped from wreck. It will be disposed of in an environmental sound manner ashore. Two guard vessels will remain in order to preserve safety. The cardinal buoy system & other safety measures will remain in place. Wreck of Tricolor will hopefully be removed by the end of August 2003, although the process very much will be weather dependent.

Official Wilhelmsen Lines:

"It will have to be brought up in pieces. It's 20,000 tons of steel, and the size of 2 football fields. There isn't a crane in the world that can lift that."

Agreement with SMIT Salvage Co. concerning Tricolor wreck removal (as distributed by Wilh. Wilhelmsen on March 21st, 2003)

"Wilh. Wilhelmsen, representing the owners of TRICOLOR and Gard Services AS, representing the P&I Club, have reached an agreement in principle concerning removal of the TRICOLOR wreck with a consortium named "Combinatie Berging TRICOLOR" headed by SMIT Salvage B.V. and with Scaldis, URS and Multraship as partners."We are pleased that we have managed to reach agreement in principle with this consortium about what will be one of the largest wreck removal operations concerning a commercial vessel ever", says London-based lawyer Mr Morten Lund Mathisen of the Norwegian law firm Wikborg, Rein & Co, who has represented the TRICOLOR interests in the negotiations. "Now we will start working on the details. We hope to be able to sign the full contract some time next week, which will mean that the matter is progressing in line with earlier projections", Mr. Lund Mathisen states.Mr Hans Chr. Bangsmoen, the press spokesperson of Wilh. Wilhelmsen, states: "We are very satisfied that we are about to reach the second milestone in the case of removing TRICOLOR. The first milestone was reached upon removal of the bunker oil, thereby reducing the risk of harm to the environment. We now look forward to get the wreck removal contract signed and the operation started as soon as possible. The third and final milestone will be the completion of the wreck removal operation, including the prudent disposal of the wreck sections and cargo ashore."The following information concerning the method and time of removal has been provided by the consortium: The wreck will be cut into seven sections of approximately 3,000 tons each by means of specially designed cutting wire system that was used in the lifting of the Russian submarine KURSK in the Barents Sea. Each wreck section, including the cargo inside, will be lifted by means of two sheerleg crane barges that have two times 3,000 tons lifting capacity.

Thereafter each section will be positioned onto a transport barge and carried to a specially designed shore facility for further disposal. It is anticipated that the wreck removal operation may be completed this autumn - weather permitting."

NOTE: More than 1,000 birds have been found dead or damaged by the oil of Tricolor, and many more likely have died at sea, environmental officials said.

UPDATE: BRUSSELS, Belgium - Aug. 2003 - Salvage teams on Aug. 3 2003 raised the 1st section of Norwegian-registered M/V Tricolor from the bottom of the North Sea, where it sank 8 months ago with thousands of luxury cars on board.

Two floating cranes took about 12 hours to lift the 3,000-ton stern &emdash; including part of the engine room, the propeller and some of the cargo &emdash; of the Tricolor from its resting place about 35 yards below the surface in one of the world's busiest sea lanes.

The wreckage was set on a barge and was to be brought to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge early Monday, said Lars Walder, spokesman for the Dutch-Belgian consortium Combinatie Salvage Tricolor.

A small oil slick seen in the area probably came from the engine, Walder said. He estimated the spill at 13-26 gallons, far less than the 3,000 gallons that leaked from the wreck and onto Belgian and Dutch beaches last winter.

"We know there's still a little oil in there," he said. "That's why we have a special anti-pollution (oil recovery) ship alongside."

The 16-year-old M/V Tricolor sank Dec. 14, 2002, after colliding with the Bahamas-flagged container M/V Kariba in thick fog about 20 miles N. of the French city of Dunkirk.

Removing the wreckage became a priority after the Turkish M/T Vicky, with 25 million gallons of diesel fuel, struck it Jan. 1 despite warnings, as did two other ships. Most of the Vicky's cargo was off-loaded onto another ship, averting a larger disaster.

The US$40M Tricolor salvage effort began last month and is expected to finish by October.

Salvage workers are sawing the wreck into 9 pieces with a specially designed, diamond-encrusted wire. Its cargo of 3,000 BMWs, Saabs & Volvos will be junked.

UPDATE: BRUSSELS, Belgium - Oct. 2003

Floating cranes lifting the remaining sections of sunken car carrier M/V Tricolor from English Channel.

Salvage team spent 3 months slicing 50,000gt M/V Tricolor into 9 sections "like cheese". Wreck has blocked part of English Channel for 10 months & lies around 30 miles E. of Ramsgate, Kent.

Sections of ship's hull are to be lifted onto a barge & taken to Belgian port of Zeebrugge over next 2 weeks.

190meter Norwegian-owned vessel with thousands of luxury cars worth £30m when it collided with container ship in thick fog Dec. 2002. Two other ships later collided with wreck, as did salvage tug in late Jan. -- led to spillage of oil thought to have affected seabirds. Salvage operation is expected to cost of around £25m. Salvage team hope to finish pulling remaining pieces from water in 2 weeks. Weather may cause delays.

UPDATE: LAX, The Cargo Letter - Oct. 19 2003

Dutch Antilles registered 3,000gt, 95mt. M/V Nicola, La Coruna in N. Spain for Rotterdam in ballast -- made #4 hit (of ships hitting M/V Tricolor) -- ran atop wreck & got stuck over Norwegian M/V Tricolor<<this webfeature -- M/V Nicola came free 19 Oct., under help of tugs & rising tide. (Sun. Oct. 19 2003)

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker.  It's dangerous out there.


M/V Tricolor Salvage

SMIT Salvage Co. - Salvors of Tricolor & The Doomed Russian Nuclear Submarine Kursk

MPSV Normand Flower - the amazing 4,000gt deep sea salvage vessel supporting Tricolor

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines AS

French View

Or Alternate

The Historic Ferry Disasters --

"Keel Hualed" - M/V Hual Europe - May 2003

M/V Herald of Free Enterprise car ferry disaster in 1987 near Zeebrugge harbor.

M/V Estonia ferry distaster in 1994

Estonia - what really Happened?

C/F Express Samina ferry disaster in 2000

M/V La Joola ferry disaster in Snegal, 2002

The Historic Container Disasters --

M/V OOCL America - Feb. 2000

M/V APL China - world's greatest container disaster of all time - Nov. 1998

Contributors To Our
Wes Boyd

Fred McCague

Henk de Pauw - advisor CErtif Services

Paul Wit

 Thanks to all our contributors,

NOTE: Please Provide Us With Your Additional Information For This Loss.

EDITOR'S NOTE FOR SURVEYORS, ATTORNEYS & MARINE ADJUSTERS: The Internet edition effort of The Cargo Letter now celebrates it's 8th Year of Service -- making us quite senior in this segment of the industry. We once estimated container underway losses at about 1,500 per year. Lloyd's put that figure at about 10,000 earlier this year. Quite obviously, the reporting mechanism for these massive losses is not supported by the lines. News of these events is not posted to the maritime community. Our new project is to call upon you -- those handling the claims -- to let us know of each container loss at sea-- in confidentiality. Many of you survey on behalf of cargo interests with no need for confidentiality. Others work for the lines & need to be protected. As a respected Int'l publication, The Cargo Letter enjoys full press privileges & cannot be forced to disclose our sources of information. No successful attempt has ever been made. If a personal notation for your report is desired -- each contributor will be given a "hot link" to your company Website in each & every report. Please take moment & report your "overside" containers to us. If you do not wish attribution, your entry will be "anonymous." This will will benefit our industry -- for obvious reasons! McD

NOTE: The Cargo Letter wants you to know that by keeping the identity of our contributors 100% Confidential, you are able to view our continuing series of "Cargo Disasters." Our friends send us materials which benefit the industry. The materials are provided to our news publication with complete and enforceable confidentiality for the sender. In turn, we provide these materials to you.  

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