The situation aboard the motor tanker Castor, which suffered heavy weather damage on December 31 is deteriorating rapidly. The owner, manager, classification society and the salvors are concerned that the situation is becoming untenable and that the vessel and its cargo are now in peril. The vessel remains some 40 miles off the coast of Cartagena on the Spanish Coast, still seeking a sheltered location to offload its cargo of 29,500 tons of gasoline.
Athenian Sea Carriers CEO, Nicolas Hondos, said, "Our options have narrowed considerably in the last 24 hours. We are becoming concerned that we will not be able to find a positive way out of this very difficult situation. The co-operation between the large and united team of class, flag state
, salvors, risk mitigation and pollution experts is quite remarkable. We are committed to saving the vessel if at all possible but we must now prepare for the worst.
Adverse weather conditions, up to force 7, during the 12th have made work on board more difficult. Although the salvors had achieved some success in stabilizing the condition of the vessel, particularly by inerting the number 4 cargo hold across the vessel (port, center and starboard), the adverse weather has reversed these efforts. It is feared that additional damage to the vessel's structure is being caused by the continuing twisting motion which it is being subjected to in the heavier seas. Further collateral damage and difficulties in maintaining inert pressure in the cargo tanks have resulted.
Bob Somerville, President of Classification Society ABS comments, "Together with the owner and the Cypriot Maritime Authorities we have been able to orchestrate a wide variety of technical assistance which we hope will result in the safety of all those involved and mitigate the possibility of severe pollution.