An increase in the swell height being experienced in the vicinity of the grounded Jolly Rubino has prevented salvage personnel from connecting the oil transfer hoses to be used in the ship-to-ship transfer operation. The SMIT Salvage team report that swell height has been steadily increasing and is currently measured at 10-11 ft. It is expected that the current ground swell condition will continue for the next 3 days, delaying the beginning of the next phase of the fuel removal operation.
Salvage personnel working in the engine room continue to pump the area of water to maintain low water levels in this space. A large quantity of accumulated sand is to be removed from the area in the engine room where the manifold (pipeline system) is located before hose connection can take place. Working conditions are steadily improving as temperatures decrease and less smoke has improved visibility. As a result, today salvage personnel are able to work safely in the engine room without the assistance of breathing apparatus, but continue to use filter masks as a precautionary measure.
The Anchor Handler, Pentow Service, which will act as the receiving vessel during the ship-to-ship transfer, remains on standby in the Port of Richards Bay until
required. She is loaded with the necessary oil transfer hoses and pumps required during the ship-to ship transfer. Yesterday, two holes were cut through the hull in the vicinity of the engine room – one big enough to accommodate a 6-in. hose and the other 2 metres wide. A platform has been welded outside of this access route as part of preparations for the ship-to-ship transfer. This access route will also introduce fresh air to the engine room space, further improving working conditions, and could also be used by salvage personnel as a quicker evacuation exit should this be required.