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Salvage update: ship groundings, container removals and a ferry tow

Mon 21 Jan 2019 by Martyn Wingrove

Salvage update: ship groundings, container removals and a ferry tow
Pusher tug Priboy listed at Temryuk Port on the Azov Sea, Russia

In another week of maritime casualties and salvage, a tug capsized, a tanker and general cargo ship ran aground and a stranded ferry was assisted back to port. These incidents highlight the dangers of machinery failures on crew, passengers and the marine environment.

In Russia, pusher tug Priboy listed then sank at Temryuk Port at the Azov Sea. There were hull breaches in the forepeak, ballast tank and engineroom on 17 January, causing a starboard list. Pumps on board were unable to control the water ingress and the crew disembarked before the tug capsized.

According to FleetMon, divers sealed the holes in the hull and an oil leak was contained by booms and then removed from the water. This tug is likely to be a wreck and will need to be removed as soon as possible to free space at the port.

In northern Europe, two ships ran aground following mechanical failures and were refloated by tugs. Product tanker Oriental Nadeshiko grounded on 21 January in the Elba estuary, east of Cuxhaven, Germany. It was on its way to Tarragona, Spain, from Stade, in Germany.

FleetMon reported there was no damage to the tanker, nor oil leaks after the tanker strayed off the shipping fairway. Two tugs were sent to assist in its refloat on the next high tide.

In Denmark, general cargo ship Alexander Tvardovskiy ran aground, north of Øresund, on 20 January. It was sailing to Goole, in the UK, from Riga, Latvia, when a mechanical failure caused it to become disabled. It drifted on to the coast, but was refloated and brought to anchor at the Copenhagen outer anchorage.

Ferry rescue

In the Philippines, 126 passengers and crew were rescued from a ferry that suffered engine failure on 19 January. Melrivic 2 also had 14 vehicles on board when it started to drift off Cebu Island. Coast guard and naval vessels evacuated the passengers, then a tug was sent to tow the ferry to Danao city.

In ongoing salvage operations, vessels are beginning to recover underwater container debris from the sea off the Netherlands. This followed the loss of containers from MSC Zoe on 2 January. Containers were already being recovered from coastal areas, with the clean-up concentrated around the Frisian islands of Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog.

On 19 January, offshore vessel Atlantic Tonjer recovered the first underwater debris, recovering container segments from a water depth of about 20 m, off Terschelling, according to Vesseltracker. Another vessel, Mare Frisicum is also recovering container scrap metal. These are being assisted by six more vessels recovering cargo remains.

Off the Frisian islands between Vlieland and Borkum, vessels Tender 1 and Seazip Fix are recovering cargo and container parts. Many of the lost containers were identified and those that reached coasts are being recovered. However, there are still 51 containers to be located. The search area for container debris covers around 2,700 km2.

In Norway, a sheerleg crane vessel has been positioned ready to salvage damaged a Norwegian frigate off the island of Øygarden near the Sture oil terminal. Divers were preparing the casualty ready for the lifting operations, which is expected to be conducted this week.

Frigate KNM Helge Ingstad was returning from a military exercise in the area when it collided with 2017-built, 112,700-dwt Tsakos Energy Navigation Aframax tanker Sola TS on 8 November 2018.

Sheerleg Rambiz was on site and used to tighten up lifting chains to attach to the hull. It will also be employed to pull the last two lifting chains under the vessel ready for the heavy lift.

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