SMIT Confirms Jolly Rubino Moving Away From Coast

Thursday, September 12, 2002
SMIT Salvage can confirm that the ‘Jolly Rubino' is presently moving parrallel to and away from the Kwa-Zulu Natal coastline in a north easterly direction at a distance of 6 miles; the effect of the wind, recorded at 60 miles per hour, overriding the effect of the current. Her position is being continuously monitored by the Anchor Handler ‘Pentow Service' which remained in the vicinity of the casualty overnight. Speculation that the ‘Jolly Rubino' is drifting towards the environmentally sensitive St Lucia area would, given current reports on the casualty's position, appear to be unfounded. However, Salvors continue to monitor the situation closely. Yesterday, extreme weather conditions, continued burning and intense heat aboard the ‘Jolly Rubino'prevented a SMIT Salvage team from boarding the abandoned RoRo vessel. An afternoon helicopter flight to the casualty to transfer SMIT Salvage personnel onboard proved unsuccessful as swells in excess of 10 metres and the vessel rolling through 80 degrees at times made hoisting conditons dangerous. With the nature of the smoke emanating from the ‘Jolly Rubino' as yet undetermined, it was deemed unsafe for personnel to board the vessel. The team returned to Durban and are assessing the situation again this morning in the hope that weather conditions will facilitate the transfer of SMIT salvage personnel to the casualty. Pictures taken yesterday would indicate that the fire has spread significantly since late Tuesday, with damage caused by explosions of unknown origin visible on the bow. Flames and thick smoke were reported and fire damage to the vessel would appear to be extensive. A risk fire expert, together with additional salvage specialists, arrived from The Netherlands this morning to join the SMIT Salvage team in Durban.The SMIT Anchor Handler 'Pentow Service' remained in the vicinity, some 20 miles south of Richards Bay, overnight and will continue to monitor the situation during the course of the day today. The salvage tug 'Wolraad Woltemade' is expected to arrive early tomorrow morning. The oil pollution abatement vessel 'Kuswag I' remains in the vicinity and the oil pollution patrol aircraft 'Kuswag VII' will overfly the scene regularly. A salvage plan will be formulated once a full inspection of the vessel has been completed by the SMIT Salvage team. SMIT Salvage was awarded a Lloyd's Open Form (with SCOPIC) by the vessel's owners. The Master, Officers and Crew of the 'Jolly Rubino', abandoned ship late Tuesday 10th September after failing to extinguish a fire in the engine room. The ‘Jolly Rubino' is an Italian flagged Ro/ro vessel with a deadweight tonnage of 31,262. She measures 190.5 meters in length and 28.5 meters in width, and is reported to be carrying an unknown quantity of hazardous cargo.

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