Sealand Express successfully refloated

Sep 13, 2003
Author: P&S

At 15.24 this afternoon, the container ship Sealand Express was successfully refloated and is currently being towed to a position west of Robben Island, where her towing connection will be reconfigured and various inspections completed prior to her entering the Port of Cape Town.

The Joint Operations Committee would like to offer their sincere thanks to members of the public and residents of Sunset Beach for their support and patience over the past 25 days.
The Joint Operations Committee is chaired by Captain Bill Dernier of the South African Maritime Safety Authority and includes representatives from SAMSA, U.S. Ship Management Inc, Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, SMIT Salvage South Africa, Maersk Sealand, SANCCOB, Blaauwberg Municipality, Cape Metropolitan Council, Provincial Disaster Management, Local Government, Western Cape Nature Conservation, SAPS, Robben Island Museum, National Nuclear Regulator, NUFCOR and National Ports Authority, amongst others.

The Sealand 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. SMIT Salvage South Africa was awarded a Lloyds Open Form salvage contract with respect to the container vessel. The 32,926 DWT Sealand Express ran aground at 06h55, 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 winterís storm.

The vessel was en route to Cape Town from Durban and Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The container ship was carrying 1037 containers when she ran aground. 12 of the 33 containers classed as hazardous were unpacked and their contents airlifted off the casualty as a precautionary measure prior to the successful refloating attempt. A total of 3518 tonnes of heavy fuel oil was removed from the Sealand Express.

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