Christmas celebrations were put on the backburner as staff from incident response specialists Braemar Howells worked round the clock to prevent a potential environmental disaster off the UK coast at Falmouth, Cornwall.
The bulk carrier Newcastle carrying Ferrous Sulphate en‐route from Spain, destined for a chemical company in Grimsby, got into difficulty in the Bay of Biscay when its cargo became contaminated with seawater and shifted, causing the vessel to take on a dangerous starboard list. The vessel was brought into Falmouth as a casualty and detained by the MCA pending resolution of the problem.
The Falmouth‐based team from Braemar Howells, part of the international Braemar Shipping Services group, became involved. Stuart Evans, the company’s Managing Director for Industrial and Marine Services, explains: “It was a case of all hands to the pump. If the ship hadnʹt made it into Falmouth Docks this could have been a very serious situation indeed.ʺ
Drawing on their experience in dealing with the stricken cargo ship the Napoli, the maritime emergency specialists from Braemar Howells and their partner organizations worked around the clock to remove nearly 6,000 tonnes of potentially hazardous cargo – which had started to leach corrosive sulphuric acid – and take it to three specially prepared warehouses in Cornwall where it could be safely managed. There were fears that if the cargo was not removed quickly it had the potential to corrode the steel hull of the vessel.
Evans said: “This was an intense job for us and our staff worked in shifts right from the moment we were called in to help and even worked on Christmas Day. Braemar Howells has provided a very comprehensive service for this job. Not only have we removed the cargo into specially engineered storage in under 10 days, we have also cleaned and repaired the vessel making it seaworthy again.ʺ