Blaze-hit ship set to be towed from Oban Bay to Rotterdam

by Hans | July 14th, 2010

Vessel which caught fire at Glensanda to be repaired in holland

A 100,000-tonne bulk cargo vessel is expected to be towed from Oban to Rotterdam shortly for repairs after being damaged by fire at a remote Highland harbour earlier this month. The Yeoman Bontrup ore carrier is being prepared by major salvage company SMIT for the trip from Oban Bay, where she is currently anchored after having been moved from the harbour at Glensanda on the Morvern peninsula.

There had been fears on Friday that the vessel’s hull could have been damaged by a rocky outcrop during an expected very low spring tide. She was towed by a tug to open water, where an exclusion zone was thrown around the vessel after reports that yachts had gone close to the carrier to get a better view of the damage.

A spokesman for the Maritime Coastguard Agency said Hugh Shaw, the UK minister for maritime salvage, and SMIT had taken the decision following consultation with the Scottish Environment Group, Glensanda harbour, and the owners and insurers of the Bahamas-registered vessel.

“Divers have carried out an inspection of the hull and Briggs Environmental Services remain on site and on immediate readiness to respond to any pollution threat,” said the spokesman. He added that flights had been undertaken over the vessel and Loch Linnhe in the agency’s own aircraft which had confirmed there was no trace of pollutants leaking into the loch, which contains a number of fish farms. The minister said: “We have assessed the risks of leaving the vessel at Glensanda Quarry and moving it to a safe anchorage.

“After extensive discussions with all parties, it has been agreed to move the vessel to a safe anchorage after which SMIT will continue to prepare the vessel for a further voyage to a repair yard.”

The blaze broke out on July 2 in the harbour at what is Europe’s biggest coastal quarry. Fire crews battled for more than 24 hours to bring the fire under control. The inferno caused gas cylinders to explode in the intense heat. It had started on a conveyor belt used to load stone on to the vessel and quickly spread to the accommodation quarters, which at one stage were “glowing”, according to a fire officer.

At its height six appliances from the Highlands and Islands service and Strathclyde Fire and Rescue attended the scene, supported by the specialist maritime incident response team from the north fire service. Because of Glensanda’s remoteness, emergency services had to travel to the peninsula by barge and RAF helicopter.

Source: The Press and Journal / Foto: MCA

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One Response to “Blaze-hit ship set to be towed from Oban Bay to Rotterdam”

  1. Local River Worker 2 says:

    The tow from Glensanda was undertaken by 2 Svitzer tugs Anglegarth (Greenock) & Svitzer Musselwick (Milford Haven). These were deemed not to be necessary at the Oban anchorage.

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