Tuesday, December 7

El Siroco: from submarine to submersible watch



The submarino Siroco caused a loss this spring in Cartagena after more than 2,300 days in the water and more than 33,000 hours of immersion together with the Spanish Navy. The underwater weapon, of French design, was built in the old Bazán shipyards in Cartagena, now Navantia. On 1982, the second submarine of the class Narrow (S- 70) it was thrown into the water and, a year later, handed over to the Navy in the port city.

Now almost forty years later the underwater weapon has been scrapped to give a second life to its steel of great resistance. In the month of May, the Cartagena company English brothers bought the submersible from the Navy to scrap and melt it down.

A process that has been developed for the first time in the Escombreras dock and that has lasted almost five months. “The Sirocco weighed 1,000 tons”, Explain Tomas English, manager of the company that acquired the submarine.

Even so, after the auction the Armada took advantage of some elements of the Siroco that could be useful as spare parts for the only two submarines of this same series that continue to serve today: the Galerna (S-71), which remains in the Navantia shipyards undergoing its fifth Great Carena and the Tramontana (S-74), which will be operational for at least one more year as reported by the Admiral Chief of the Navy General Staff (AJEMA), Antonio Martorell Lacave, during his last visit to Cartagena.

Specifically, the Navy withdrew the Siroco the propeller and emergency lead ballasts, which now carries the Tramontana. With 200 tons less, the submarine left on May 20 from the Arsenal of Cartagena to the north front of the Escombreras Dock, where fifteen workers have torched the resistant hull of the submarine weapon with oxygen and propane until the submersible was left at the base. To avoid water contamination during this process, A team of divers sealed the submarine’s tanks to prevent oil and fuel leaks.

Scrapping has been carried out following the recycling plan that a naval engineer has been specially developed to disassemble the Sirocco.

“The most valuable part of the submarine is the resistant hull, which is made of 26-millimeter steel and accounts for 60 percent of the total steel of the submarine, which will be used to manufacture high-quality objects»explains English. “The material of the outer hull is thinner, 8 millimeters thick, represents 15 percent of the total steel and will go to conventional steelworks,” continues the manager of the company that has carried out the scrapping of the submarine.

Among the rest of the materials that made up the Sirocco to a lesser extent are lead, copper, brass and even bronze.

“There are 800 tons that are put back at the service of the industry,” remarks Inglés. “In this way, we avoid the exploitation of raw materials that represent a higher environmental cost”adds the manager of Hermanos Inglés.

Precisely because of how valuable and unique this material is, A Spanish watch firm has been interested in the steel of the Siroco submarine to implement it in one of its models, to be manufactured in Switzerland.

The emerging firm Otto Krümel will make a submersible watch with heavy duty hull steel from the S-72 Sirocco. “We wanted a different watch that resists everything and is of a high quality,” he explains. Carlos A. S., founder of the brand.

In addition to “recycling and giving a new life to this material”, Otto Krümel has been interested in the steel of the submersible “because of the emotional component of wearing a piece of something on your wrist that has been traveling the seas around the world for almost forty years”, says the CEO of the brand.

The company, which has already closed the design of this exclusive “mechanical heart” watch, bought two tons of steel from the rugged hull of the Siroco submarine. With this amount of material, they calculate that they will be able to produce “between 2,000 and 3,000 watches”, says the founder of Otto Krümel. The price of each of these distinguished pieces will range between 1.200 and the 1.400 euros. The sale of watches made with submarine steel will be via Internet and it will be shipped anywhere in the world.

The steel of the resistant hull of the submersible It also contains a small percentage of nickel that gave it more elasticity to absorb compressions and dilations that it could suffer when entering the depths of the sea during navigation, allowing the Siroco to submerge to more than 300 meters deep. These characteristics will make the watch collection unique.

Although it is a Spanish firm, the company has decided to manufacture the watch in Switzerland, “in a highly prestigious factory that works with world-renowned firms”, says the founder of Otto Krümel.

“They will be watches aimed at a select public”, details the CEO of the brand. “Collectors who love innovation, quality, ecology, vegan products and unique pieces with a certain emotional factor”, he adds.

A piece of the S-72 at home

The pieces that the company in charge of scrapping the second submarine of the S-70 series is preparing after dismembering the submersible will also be a collector’s item. The company has reserved a part of the resistant hull of the Siroco to make figures with the silhouette of the submarine to scale and laser cut “so that the most curious can have a piece of submarine at home,” says the manager of Hermanos Inglés.

What happens when a military submarine is discharged and retires from the Navy?

When a submersible is discharged from the Navy and is no longer in a position to continue serving, the submarine goes out to public auction. However, only those companies that can demonstrate solvency to take charge of a piece of this size and comply with the sustainability and infrastructure protocols necessary to carry out the scrapping. Thus, once the new owner of the submarine has been awarded by tender, the Navy removes from the submersible those top secret military equipment to which civil society cannot have access, electronic elements and electrical components of the submarine. In addition to those parts that can serve as a replacement for other submersibles. Finally, the submarine is delivered.


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