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Vessel aground

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Old 11th October 2006, 22:47
rushie rushie is offline  
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Vessel aground

From the Malta Independent OnLine -

The 200-foot-long bunkering vessel Golden Bay was re-floated after a six-hour operation to lift it off a reef she had settled on in Marsascala at about 6am yesterday.

The vessel, which was empty apart from 15 tonnes of diesel for its own consumption, was eventually hauled off the reef by a tugboat at 11.45am.

The activity started at about 7.30am when the authorities were informed that the Golden Bay, which is owned by Island Bunkering, had run aground. It is understood that the very high currents that were pulling in the area were just too much for the vessel’s engines to handle and she was eventually pushed onto the rocks.

Police, Civil Protection Department officials and other officials from the Freeport, Cassar Shipyards, the Oil Response Unit, the Disaster Response Team and others were called to the scene.

Slowly but surely, the presence began to build up and by 10am, there were two tugs on site – the Pawlina and the Wenzina, as well as a sea crane belonging to Cassar Shipyards.

The tugs and the crane tried several times to pull the Golden Bay off the underwater ledge, and although it budged a few times, the vessel was stuck fast. When this approach failed, Harbour Master Richard Degabriele decided to try and drag the vessel back out to sea in a two-pronged approach.

This involved two tugs pulling ropes attached to the front and the back of the Golden Bay. They pulled, but this approach seemed to work less successfully than the first.

All this while, sources in the industry explained, the vessel’s hull was beginning to take the shape of the ledge, which was why it was becoming more difficult to drag the ship back into the water.

The recovery crew on board the vessel then decided they would try to attach one of the ropes to the stern of the vessel and try to get it back out to sea that way. This approach seemed to work better, but the metal brace that the rope was tied to broke off. This resulted in the rope recoiling and hitting one of the members of the crew. There were anxious moments as his injuries were assessed, but he seemed to recover quickly enough.

Finally, it was decided to have one more throw of the dice and the Pawlina was to be the vessel to do it. One of her ropes was attached to the bow of the Golden Bay and it immediately became clear that the stricken ship might rise. She inched her bow into the waves as the Pawlina pulled backward and eventually, with the screech of metal on rock, she came unstuck. If this had not worked, the Harbour Master was going to call in the Armed Forces to airlift the recovery crew off the boat.

There were a few hairy moments as the crew tried to steer the Golden Bay’s bow into the wind, but she eventually settled and was towed to Cassar Shipyards. The crew stayed on board.

The area where the ship ran aground is knows at is-Siberja and is the exact same location where the Angel Gabriel, another bunkering vessel, ran aground in the 1960s.

The Malta Maritime Authority said it had launched an investigation in terms of IMO Assembly resolution A.849 (20).

It confirmed that no injuries or pollution were reported and that the vessel’s hull was intact.

See photo on website....she's ancient...!!

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