Phoenix to be towed to Davey Jones’s locker

2011-08-31 00:00

THE Phoenix won’t rise again, nor will it succumb to a fiery end, but rather end in a watery graveyard come Friday, when big swells are expected.

The ship that ran aground on Sheffield Beach and has attracted thousands of curious onlookers since July 26 has been the subject of much debate.

Head of operations Sobantu Tilayi, executive head at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa), said its owners could not be located.

Now the Department of Transport is to be asked to pick up the bill of R29,8 million, which is likely to be exceeded substantially once the operation is completed.

The MT Phoenix is an old, single-hull tanker built in 1974 that had engine failure while on her voyage from Nigeria to India for scrap.

The vessel is reported to have been laid up for more than three years before its final voyage.

She was disabled on July 5, 2011, just off Hamburg near East London.

The emergency tug, Smit Amandla, which was in the vicinity assisting yet another disabled vessel, was instructed to tow the MT Phoenix further offshore.

The vessel has no protection and indemnity cover and a limited hull insurance.

Repeated calls to the owners to advise on the intentions have met with no response.

“Two attempts to refloat the vessel this month were unsuccessful as the cable chain snapped in the first attempt and the dyneema [special towing line] parted during the second attempt to pull the vessel out of the stranded position,” said Tilayi.

He said there is no real threat to the environment and the ship will be pulled to one of three locations out to sea and scuttled.

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