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Sea Land Express
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Jul 2003
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Gepost vrijdag 22 augustus 2003 @ 15:28

SMIT Salvage South Africa has commenced the fuel removal operation off the ‘Sea-Land Express'

22 August 2003

The container vessel ‘Sea-Land Express' ran aground at 07h30, 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's storm. SMIT Salvage South Africa was awarded a Lloyds Open Form salvage contract with respect to the grounded container vessel.

The ship-to-ship transfer from the grounded container vessel began at midnight last night and the salvage team on board the casualty report that the fuel removal operation is proceeding well with pumping rates of 50 tonnes per hour being achieved. Oil is being pumped out of those tanks considered to be most at risk of being breached should the vessel's structural condition change and it is expected that the team will be able to make good use of the fine weather being experienced at present.

On Thursday, a chemical engineer was flown out to the casualty in order to assess the risk posed by the cargo classed as hazardous and confirmed that salvage personnel and crew on board, as well as members of the public, were under no direct threat. Contingency plans for the removal of that cargo are in the process of being put in place.

The ‘Sea-Land Express' rests in a sandy gully approximately 200 metres from the beach. Renewed attempts to refloat the container vessel will be made once it is deemed that she has been lightened sufficiently. This will entail the removal of the fuel - which also reduces the risk of oil pollution, as well as cargo should this be deemed necessary.

As we move into the weekend, members of the public are requested to limit their sightseeing activities to the beach. Surfers, canoeists and other recreational boating and sports people are kindly requested to stay well away from the area of operation so as not to jeopardise the ship-to-ship transfer or their own safety. This request is extended to aerial enthusiasts, including those using helicopters and micro lights, whose presence may jeopardise the safe operation of the salvage team's helicopter.

The ‘Sea-Land 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 and 32,926 DWT. The vessel was en route to Cape Town from Durban, South Africa.

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