Salvage & Wreck Removal

COES established its salvage business in 1951 with responsibilities for people rescue, recovery of marine property, wreck removal, oil-spill recovery and other emergency responses in the southeastern coastal area of China. COES is since then a leading salvage company in China and its “Shanghai Salvage” brand-name is globally recognized.


COES hires highly-experienced salvage masters, specialized vessels and equipment, and all kinds of emergency materials and supplies promptly available to provide rescue services, marine wreck removal, environmental protection and clean-up, and property salvage… on a 24/7 basis.

Over the years, COES has salvaged more than 1980 vessels in distress of all sorts, removed more than 1240 wrecks, and cleared over 26,500 tons spilled-oil.

Milestone Salvage & Wreck Removal Activities 

1. Wreck Recovery of Sewol 

In the early part of 2017, COES successfully completed the SEWOL passenger ferry recovery project in South Korea - arguably one of most difficult offshore single lift wreck recoveries ever attempted. The Raising of SEWOL was an extremely complex and sensitive project and by way of achievement it was a:

  • ·  World first - single piece, intact wreck removal 7,900 tons from 45m water depth in extreme sea and     seabed conditions.    
  • ·  World record trailer load in operation, 17,000 tons weight.
  • ·  Remarkable Health, Safety & Environmentally focused operation which included in the region of 12,000 hours     under water in extremely challenging conditions

COES were very proud of its achievements on this most challenging of projects. The successful completion of the SEWOL project has received worldwide acclaim and by way of an indication of the sheer scale of the project - the work equated to:

  •     · A total of 600 days
  •     ·Accumulated 3,000 ship days
  •     ·2,200  people deployed;
  •     ·6,000 hours of diving;
  •     ·Over 13,000 hours of underwater work;
  •     ·Over 5,000 ft of steel used;
  •     ·24,000 m2 of wore mesh;
  •     ·6,000  of steel wire ropes;
  •     ·4,900m wire ropes.   

Shanghai Salvage was highly commended by the South Korean Government for completing one of the most difficult offshore single lift wreck recoveries ever attempted

2.    “SANCHI” Salvage & Oil Removal

In January 2018, the Belize flag oil tanker "Sanchi" and the Hong Kong flag bulk carrier "Changfeng Crystal" collided, resulting the "Sanchi" in a catastrophic fire.  The ship had been fully loaded with condensate oil (about 113,000 tons) and with 32 people onboard had been lost. Shanghai Salvage / COES immediately mobilized and dispatched nearly 130 workers and 4 emergency firefighting vessels dedicated to the effort. Additionally, as a matter of urgency, nearly 450 tons of firefighting foam and emergency equipment in East China were mobilized to offshore site. Working in the most dangerous of circumstances - the ship was approached for firefighting for many continuous days with careful consideration given as to the fire blast risk on a vessel carrying such dangerous cargo.

On January 13th, a team of 4 company specialists embarked on a hazardous (but risk assessed mission). They resolutely boarded the blasting “Sanchi” and successfully retrieved the ship’s VDR equipment. They also located and brought back the remains of two of the ships’ crew members, confirming that there were no further survivors. This was important as a basis for subsequent follow-up investigations, but nonetheless highlighted a determined relentless spirit of international humanitarianism. The Iranian Minister of Labor sent a letter of thanks to the Chinese Government on the "Sanchi" emergency salvage. It read:

"The Chinese government and their support and humanitarian assistance to the Iran in the accident will always be remembered by all Iranians."

3. The “Oriental Star” salvage

In June 2015, for example: the "Oriental Star" passenger ship turned over in Yangtze River Jianli section, and more than 400 people on board were in distress. Shanghai Salvage / COES immediately mobilized an emergency response with total commitment to successfully carry out the related salvage operations. This entailed overcoming significant difficulties of fast challenging current, limited working space and poor underwater visibility. The success was achieved by reliance on the Company’s core assets and technology and a superb highly skilled team to complete the underwater exploration, pulling steel cable underneath the bottom of the ship, and working in a relentless round the clock fashion with the end result being the successful completion of the overall lifting of the shipwreck within 4 days and 3 nights.

4. The Wreck Recovery of  Container Vessel "Bareli"

In March 2012, the container ship “Bareli” was stranded in the Xinghua Bay area and later inclined and broke apart. The unfortunate vessel was laden with 2000 tons of chemicals. COES promptly dispatched its 2500 tons crane barge “Da Li Hao” to the site, complete with pumping and oil-recovery equipment and a specialized team as requested by Client. COES first offloaded the containers on board and removed the bunker oil to minimize risk of property damage and environment pollution. Upon discharging, the aft part of broken wreck was cut and towed to a safe place. Later, the fore part was exploded and the wreckage was cleared.

The whole project was completed in 131 days. With continuous and hard work, 819.4 cubic meters of bunker oil were removed and 1233 containers were offloaded. COES was highly praised by Client for the efficient and successful operation.