SMIT Reduces Oil Emanating From Jolly Rubino

Monday, September 16, 2002
The SMIT Salvage team continued with preparations onboard the ‘Jolly Rubino’ for the refloating attempt, aided by favorable weather and sea conditions. Ninety percent of the portside crack has been patched by the dive team, reducing the oil emanating from the ‘Jolly Rubino’. Early this morning, the “Dyneema” towline was connected to the bow of the grounded ‘Jolly Rubino’ via the Anchor Handler ‘Pentow Service’ and by means of helicopter. It was then connected to the ‘Wolraad Woltemade’s tow wire. The towing connection has thus been completed. A further attempt was made to take soundings on the lower deck to determine if any water was present in the area. The reason for this is that a great amount of water on the lower deck could create free surface movement, which could capsize the vessel should she be refloated. Salvage personnel are trying to establish the quantity of water to be pumped out of the casualty before a refloating attempt can begin and it is now estimated that the preparatory phase of the refloating operation will continue for the next few days as this water is located and pumped out of the vessel. Salvage personnel will with pumping operations in the engine room today so as to reduce the water level there. As reported, the grounded 'Jolly Rubino' is still intact but its condition assessed as critical. Salvage personnel have determined that preparations for a refloating attempt should continue as planned in an effort to prevent the 500-ton of heavy fuel oil in the fuel tanks from being released. This would create an oil slick on the sea surface, with the burned contents on the cargo decks posing a greater threat to the environment than the heavy fuel. It is for these reasons that salvage personnel are focusing their efforts on a refloating attempt. The Pollution Patrol aircraft ‘Kuswag VII’ flew a patrol this afternoon and report that conditions with respect to the oil pollution remain unchanged; the effect of the wind and sea helping to break up the oil. The visible pollution runs parallel to the coast in a southwesterly direction until about 500-m south west of the casualty, where some oil has been noted in the surf zone. It then heads directly out to sea in a southerly direction and at 5 miles out breaks up into sheen. The Master, Officers and Crew of the Jolly Rubino' abandoned ship late on September 10 after failing to extinguish a fire in the engine room. The fire has spread throughout the vessel causing extensive damage and on Thursday afternoon the vessel ran aground 1,2 miles north east of the Cape St Lucia lighthouse. The Jolly Rubino is an Italian flagged RoRo vessel with a deadweight tonnage of 31,262.

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