Multraship Refloats Stranded Bulk Carrier

Monday, February 24, 2003
Dutch towage and salvage company Multraship prevented a major casualty by refloating the bulk carrier Sibotura just hours after it ran aground in the busy Scheldt river. "Sibotura grounded on a hard solid bank in the middle of a narrow passage in the Scheldt," says Leendert Muller, director of Multraship. "Unfortunately the vessel grounded at a particularly high tide but, due to the quick response of Multraship's salvage team, a major casualty was avoided. The quick action of the salvage team enabled the vessel to be refloated before the receding water dropped below the crucial level." Sibotura, a 229 metre long 74,928 DWT bulk carrier, grounded in the River Scheldt at 17.30 local time on Friday 21 February 2003. The vessel was laden with 60,000 tonnes of coking coal. Following the grounding, salvage tugs from Multraship and URS Salvage & Maritime Contracting, on constant stand-by in the Scheldt, proceeded immediately to the location which was in the vicinity of buoy 49. In the meantime Multraship dispatched a salvage team using Multraship's rescue and communication vessel Patrol. After the salvage team's initial check to ensure no ingress of water, Multraship's salvage tugs, along with those from URS, hauled Sibotura off the bank at 18.40 local time. The vessel was then safely anchored. Sibotura was released after a dive inspection team revealed no damage. "With the tide falling all the time it was a real challenge to refloat the vessel quickly enough," says Muller. "Sibotura ran aground in a particularly narrow passage of the Scheldt and the tide was extremely high when the vessel grounded. The incident had the potential to cause many problems. We are very pleased to have successfully prevented a major casualty in the Scheldt."
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