Scheldt Salvage Continues

Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Terneuzen-based Multraship Salvage is working with co-contractors URS Salvage and Maritime Contracting under LOF2000 to salvage the 2,757 teu containership Fowairet which grounded yesterday in the River Scheldt. The vessel, loaded with almost 2,000 containers, of which 200 contain hazardous cargo, has suffered hogging damage and flooding in No 5 hold after grounding on the ebb tide near Perkpolder, between Terneuzen and Antwerp It is currently held in Flushing harbour, awaiting discharge and inspection. There was some oil leakage from a cracked fuel tank which was contained by anti pollution craft with sweepers. The joint salvors mobilised 14 tugs, a floating crane & barges for possible lightering of cargo, tanker barges for possible transfer of bunkers, pumping & fire-fighting capacity, oil booms and the Rijkswaterstaat's anti pollution craft along with a salvage team including experts for hazardous cargoes, naval architect & divers. The vessel grounded in the early morning of September 20th, but the master initially refused to accept a salvage contract, so no major attempt to refloat the vessel could begin until the evening high water at 1715. Leendert Muller, managing director of Multraship says, "Once again this incident demonstrates how the authorities rely on expert salvors to invest in equipment and expert staff, and for them to be ready when an incident occurs. More and more vessels carrying dangerous cargo are transiting the River Scheldt and its highly populated areas, and authorities need to think carefully about the salvage capacity which is available. We are the only thing which prevents disaster, but so far we see no sign of the authorities factoring that into their plans or providing appropriate support." Tugs and anti-pollution craft remain on standby, there is an oil boom around the vessel, and divers are making provisional repairs in order to contain the oil leakage until the vessel can be berthed.
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