Update on grounded vessel
8/9/2003 12:00 AM
The following has been released by salvage team and owners today:
Monday 8 September, 2003
Preparations continue for the salvage team’s next refloating attempt
with respect to the grounded container ship “Sealand Express”, which
will take place on the 11th/12th September during spring tide. The
dredging operation will continue for as long as is possible so as to
maximise the efforts of the dredger “HAM 316” in increasing the water
depth in the vicinity of the casualty, where it has made significant
progress over the course of the past 10 days. The dredger will continue her efforts until just prior to the “Sealand Express” being deballasted in preparation for the attempt, when it will become necessary for a tug to be connected up to hold her in place as she becomes lighter. The salvage tug “John Ross” and the tugs “Pacific Worker” and “Pacific Brigand” will be used during the next attempt.
A total of 33 containers containing cargo classed as hazardous were on
board the “Sealand Express” when she ran aground. 10 of them have been
unpacked and their contents safely airlifted to the secure reception
facility in the port by the powerful Mi8 helicopter. The hazardous cargo removal operation will continue this week, weather permitting, until such time as the casualty is deballasted and consequently becomes more “lively”.
As safety of personnel and the protection of the environment
are paramount during this operation, activities will be suspended should
the helicopter pilots and salvage team deem conditions to be unsafe. A
full Hazmat team, comprised of technician, chemist and paramedic, is
flown to the casualty daily to co-ordinate hazardous cargo removal in
conjunction with the salvage team.
All of the pumpable heavy fuel oil (3518 tonnes) has been removed by the salvage team. 235 tonnes of diesel (gasoil) remains on board for use by the ship’s generators and main engines. Further consolidation of the unpumpables has taken place (143 tonnes) and only residues remain in the exposed portside wing tanks.
Stress monitors fitted to the “Sea-Land Express’s” hull indicate that
her overall condition is still sound. Stresses being experienced by the
ship are above normal but within the acceptable range û given the
grounding forces that the fully laden container ship is experiencing.
Since Friday last week, the casualty has moved 180 metres forward and
pivoted 27 degrees seaward.
The Joint Operations Committee is chaired by Captain Bill Dernier of the Souuth African Maritime Safety Authority and includes representatives from SAMSA, U.S. Ship Management Inc, Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, SMIT Salvage South Africa, Maersk Sealand, SANCCOB, Blaauwberg Municipality, Cape Metropolitan Council, Provincial Disaster Management, Local Government, Western Cape Nature Conservation, SAPS, Robben Island Museum, National Nuclear Regulator, NUFCOR and National Ports Authority, amongst others.
The “Sealand Express” is a USA flagged container ship owned by U.S. Ship Management, Inc and was built in 1980. She has a length of 257m and is 30 metres wide. SMIT Salvage South Africa was awarded a Lloyds Open Form salvage contract with respect to the grounded container vessel. The 32,926 DWT “Sealand Express” ran aground at 06h55, 200 metres off Sunset Beach, north of the Port of Cape Town on Tuesday 19th August in severe weather and wave conditions during a typical Cape winter storm. The vessel was en route to Cape Town from Durban and Port Elizabeth, South Africa.