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Category: Marine Casualty Response

Roller Bags: A Powerful, Versatile Tool

January 31, 2018

There’s an old adage, “use the right tool for the right job.” Global utilizes a wide variety of specialized equipment on salvage and marine construction projects, and roller bags are just one of the many versatile tools in our arsenal.

Originally used overseas to launch vessels in areas without a drydock, roller bags became more common in the United States while cleaning up in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Workers needed a way to remove vessels in shallow areas where cranes weren’t available or couldn’t reach their targets, and roller bags provided a versatile solution.

Roller bags are relatively lightweight but have incredible lifting capacity; since they distribute the weight load over a wide area they can lift and move massive objects with minimal impact to the ground underneath. This can be particularly useful when moving vessels in ecologically sensitive areas, or areas where the ground might not support a land-based crane.  When combined with a winch or other pulling method, vessels and other objects weighing hundreds of tons can easily be hauled ashore. Roller bags can also be used as pneumatic jacks when simple lifting capacity is needed, or can be used as lift bags to provide buoyancy in water. They’re often a more affordable alternative than renting large cranes or derrick barges, particularly for lengthy operations.

Roller bags are a simple concept, but they require a complex system of equipment, methodology and proper placement to make them work safely and efficiently. “Expertise is required; things can go wrong very quickly when moving a huge vessel if they’re not used properly.  That’s where Global comes in,” said David DeVilbiss, Vice President of Marine Casualty and Emergency Response. “We have a variety of sizes available to provide a customized solution for the customer’s needs, and we have the experts that know exactly how to use them.”

Roller bags played a key role on a recent Global project; watch the video to see them in action.


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