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.