Costa Concordia salvor helping with stricken Cape Town vessel

2016-11-11 19:02
Verano fishing trawler. (Supplied)

Verano fishing trawler. (Supplied)

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Cape Town - A South African salvor, dubbed the "marine engineer rock star" by international media for his successful Costa Concordia project, is part of a team working on a fishing ship that caught alight in the Cape Town harbour.

A fire broke out on the Verano fishing trawler last Wednesday while it was berthed at quay 703, sparking fears of a major pollution spill as clouds of smoke billowed across the harbour.

With the last flames extinguished on Tuesday, the vessel's owners appointed two salvors to help map a way forward. They are Resolve Salvage and Fire, and Atlatech Divers & Salvors.

Nick Sloane - who was born in Zambia, but went to school in KwaZulu-Natal - was recently appointed as the regional director for Resolve's South African arm.

He confirmed with News24 on Friday that the Verano job was their first local operation.

Insurance representatives flew in this week and were now on location for a detailed inspection.

‘Sad loss’

READ: Stricken Cape Town trawler likely unsalvageable

"She will be scrapped," said Sloane, explaining that the vessel had lost its value. "From a fishing point of view, it is a sad loss."

The vessel was expected to remain on site for a few months while the team mopped up.

All the water in the vessel was being removed to correct the list to the starboard, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) said.

"All oil, chemicals and asbestos will then be removed and disposed of at the appropriate facilities," said Captain Gustav Louw, speaking on behalf of Samsa in the Western Cape.

Sloane brings more than 30 years of experience to the operation.

He was the senior salvage master for the Costa Concordia wreck removal project, in what is believed to be the largest and most expensive salvage operation in history.

Investigation

The cruise liner's captain was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2015 for his role in the 2012 shipwreck that killed 32 people, according to a Reuters report.

The vessel came too close to shore and hit rocks off the western coast of Italy.

With Sloane heading up that team, the salvage operation saw the 290m, 114 500-ton vessel finally standing upright in late 2013.

World Maritime News reported that the wreck took its final voyage two months ago when it sailed to a dry dock in Genoa for final dismantling operations.

By Friday, mystery still surrounded the cause of the Verano fire, with investigations still underway.

Louw said the engine room was not affected by the fire. Engine rooms usually presented a serious fire hazard with the presence of flammable fuel, electrical equipment and internal combustion engines.

The Cape Town port continued to operate as usual.

Read more on:    cape town  |  accidents  |  fires

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