Oil to be flown off Knysna ship

2013-08-14 11:28

Marine salvors plan to remove oil from the leaking cargo ship Kiani Satu by air, the SA Maritime Safety Authority has said.

The ship ran aground off Buffels Bay, near Knysna, last week.

“(They are) drilling into tanks to take the oil out. It has not been heated for a week now, so we are going to try to put the oil into plastic tanks and fly it off the ship,” Samsa spokesperson Captain Nigel Campbell said.

Campbell said progress was being made to refloat the vessel.

“She has not come off (the shore) but she has swung 45 degrees off the beach, which is a positive for us because she is looking towards the sea and not the beach ... there is a lot of work going on that people cannot see from the shore,” said Campbell.

Six salvage experts were on the ship monitoring the pulling gear so that it did not break.

Campbell said the weather was slowing down the process.

“The wind is affecting the swell we want. Mother nature is not playing along. Basically, two hours before every high tide we pull with the tide. We have been doing that twice a day.”

Campbell said 322 people – including police, disaster management, and other government officials – were involved in the operation.

“The cooperation is amazing. It’s amazing how well everyone is working together,” he said.

The 168m bulk carrier ran aground at dawn on Thursday off Buffels Bay, forcing the captain and his 19-member crew to abandon ship.

It had developed mechanical problems in heavy seas while carrying 330 tons of fuel oil and 15 000 tons of rice.

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