22 June 2005

New attempt to refloat Kiperousa

Maritime authorities are looking to Wednesday's spring tide off the coast of East London to assist in refloating the beached bulk carrier Kiperousa.

Salvors are expected to begin further attempts at refloating the grounded bulker Kiperousa (25, 375-dwt), which went onto a reef off the Eastern Cape coast on 7 June. With the advent of spring tides this week new attempts are likely from tomorrow (Wednesday).

Previous efforts at pulling the vessel off her rocky resting place using the Tsavliris tug Nicolay Chiker have so far proved unsuccessful, and last week salvors postponed further plans ahead of oncoming bad weather and instead pumped water into the ballast tanks to add weight to the vessel to help her ride out the storm.

Kiperousa is loaded with logs from West Africa and was en route for Asia when she hit a submerged object, believed to be a reef close to the coast near the village of Hamburg. Water entered the engine room causing a loss of power and the ship later drifted ashore a few miles northeast.

The crew of 24 was safely evacuated and a salvage team appointed to refloat the ship under the watchful eye of the Department of Environmental Affairs. Small amounts of oil have been seen dispersing from the ship and at the weekend oil was reported on several East London beaches.

The salvage team is currently attempting to plug a hole in the ship's hull leading to the engine room, ahead of further attempts to pull the ship clear.

Although the Tsavliris tug Nicolay Chiker is the appointed salvage tug for this operation, the nearby port of East London had two additional tugs on standby this morning – Pentow Service from Smit Salvage’s Durban base and Smit Amandla from Smit Dudula in Cape Town.

Source: www.ports.co.za


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