10 June 2005

Maritime officials making new salvage plans

Attempts to refloat the stranded log carrier Kiperousa failed, but would be attempted again on Friday evening, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) said.

Spokesperson Captain Peter Kroon said on Friday that the cable between the tug and the ship had come undone on the first pull on Thursday evening.

"She hasn't moved, she is still sitting there," he said.

Samsa would try again at around 6pm on Friday when the tide would be at its highest.

"The weather is fine, the wind is down, the swell is down, and we'll use a bigger, better, stronger cable," Kroon said.

The Kiperousa is a 14 921-gross-ton log-carrier and was en route from Gabon to Durban to take in fuel oil when it ran aground on a reef off Bhenga, just south of Hamburg in the Eastern Cape, on Tuesday.

"The vessel sustained damage to its bottom which resulted in the engine room being flooded and a total loss of power and facilities."

On Thursday, crew members were airlifted from the stranded vessel onto a tug, the Nikolay Chiker, by helicopter.

Earlier on Thursday Samsa said it had given permission for the salvage operation to go ahead without the oil being removed from the Kiperousa.

"As removal of the oil from the vessel would be very difficult and time consuming, Samsa has agreed to the salvor's plan to try and get the vessel off the beach as soon as possible."

Small amounts of oil were leaking from the ship, but Samsa said the slick was very thin and was dispersing naturally.

Pollution response teams from the Department of Environmental Affairs were on stand-by if the leakage increased.

The Kiperousa is carrying 250 000 litres of heavy fuel oil and 63 000 litres of diesel oil.

Source: www.iol.co.za


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