Salvage of Bulker “Smart” begins

by Hans | August 22nd, 2013

Salvage operations for the shipwrecked Capesize bulker SMART (151,279-dwt, built 1996), which grounded off the Richard Bay harbour entrance on Monday, have commenced, a spokesman for the Port of Richards Bay said yesterday.

The bulk ship went aground while sailing from the port, where the ship had loaded 148,000 tons of coal for China. Stranded on the sea bottom, within a very short period the ship began to break up forcing the crew to abandon ship, with the port helicopter being called in to airlift the crew to safety.

According to Captain Vernal Jones, the port harbour master, the majority of the salvage support vessels have arrived and the immediate intention is to rid the vessel of all fuel and pollutants that are of an environmental concern.

On shore the salvage team has prepared deep sea floats which are ready to use when required.

The salvage work has been awarded to Durban-based Subtech Salvage, working in collaboration with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

According to the SAMSA and Subtech damage assessment team, Smart has broken apart between hatches six and seven. Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) says that the ship’s fuel (1,770 tons of heavy bunker fuel and 130 tons of diesel) is safely contained with no immediate threat of leaking. The ship’s machinery, pumps and tanks in the engine room are all intact and there is no visible sign of water leaking into this area.

A sounding vessel is conducting a biometricsurvey of the area around the vessel to determine whether any reefs exist.

The anchor handling tug, FAIRMOUNT GLACIER, which was involved unsuccessfully in attempting to prevent the general cargo ship KIANI SATU from going aground at Buffalo Bay in the Southern Cape, left Cape Town on Tuesday and is expected to arrive on Saturday 24 August.

Meanwhile it is reported that the Kiani Satu sank at around 04h00 approximately 100 n.miles off the southern Cape coast. The ship, which was carrying a cargo of 15,000 tons of rice for Ghana, lost engine power and after seeking shelter near Buffalo Bay, dragged her anchor and went aground. On Saturday the salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA pulled the ship clear but it became obvious that she ship had structural damage to her hull and was taking water. SAMSA issued instructions for the ship to be taken offshore to a position where the sea had a depth capable of reducing any chance of oil polluting the South African coastline

Source: Ports & Ships Maritime News

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