08 June 2005

Crew of sinking ship safe, vessel to be towed out to sea

The 25-man crew of a ship, slowly sinking off the coast of East London on Tuesday night, were being transferred to a South African navy ship as a safety measure, port authorities said.

By 19:00 on Tuesday, weather conditions and water flooding the ship's engine room led to the Kiperousa crew's decision to seek help from the national port authority, said spokesperson Terry Taylor.

"At first, they said there was no problem," he said. "But the weather is changing and we expect it to get rough and windy."

Why the 180m ship, carrying a consignment of logs from West Africa, was sinking was unclear and rumours that it had collided with an object were a possibility.

Taylor said the crew would soon board the SAS Protea, scheduled to dock in the morning.

After this, the Protea would help tow the Kiperousa out to sea where the water could be pumped out of the engine room.

The Kiperousa was anchored two nautical miles (about 3.5km) offshore in the Bira area close to Hamburg.

Taylor said a helicopter was on standby in case the situation changed and the crew's lives be in any immediate danger.

Source: www.news24.com


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