SMIT Salvage team evacuated from Jolly Rubino

Friday, September 20, 2002
This morning a team of 16 salvage personnel boarded the 'Jolly Rubino' and pumping operations in the engine room continued. The water, rather than being pumped overboard, is being used to cool the engine room bulkhead as the onboard fire is still encroaching on this area. Working conditions in the engine room continue to be extremely difficult with excessive heat, poor visibility and intense smoke hindering progress. The salvage team are making use of breathing apparatus as well as protective clothing as a safety measure. Carbon Monoxide is being generated in the engine room as a result of the fire and readings taken this morning in this area by salvage personnel measured 12 times the maximum allowable limit. The salvage team was evacuated from the casualty by helicopter at 12h30 this afternoon when conditions were again deemed life threatening. Preparations for the fuel removal operation are ongoing and will continue over the weekend. The mooring spread was laid this morning some 200 meters from the grounded 'Jolly Rubino'. The Anchor Handler 'Pentow Service' has been loaded with the required oil transfer hoses and pumps and is on stand-by in the Port of Richards Bay until required. The commencement of the ship-to-ship transfer is dependent on working conditions onboard the 'Jolly Rubino' and the ability of the team to work safely in order to clear the engine room of water and inspect this area fully. Yesterday afternoon, with the wind picking up and flames becoming visible in certain areas as the wind fanned the fire, conditions onboard also became unsafe and salvage personnel were evacuated from the casualty shortly after 15h00. The Master, Officers and Crew of the 'Jolly Rubino' abandoned ship late Tuesday 10th September after failing to extinguish an onboard fire. The fire spread throughout the vessel causing extensive damage and on the afternoon of Thursday 12th September, the vessel ran aground 1,2 miles north east of the Cape St Lucia lighthouse at a distance of 300 metres from the shore. The 'Jolly Rubino' is an Italian flagged Ro/ro vessel with a deadweight tonnage of 31,262. She measures 190.5 meters in length and 28.5 meters in width.
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