Bulker Pride Trader - latest update

May 22, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

Friday evening, 22 May 2009 - Salvors have located the source of water ingress in the engine room space of the bulk carrier PINE TRADER and continue to pump out this area. SMIT Salvage divers were able to investigate the flooded engine room and salvors have advised authorities that a previously patched 2.5 m crack in the structure of the ‘Pine Trader’ is leaking. Further concerns about the condition of the 32 year old vessel’s structure will be investigated today by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and SMIT Salvage.

The salvage tug ‘SMIT Amandla’ has the casualty under tow and the convoy is presently some 35 miles west of Hout Bay. Yesterday (Thursday), additional salvage equipment and personnel were flown out to the casualty. The salvage team on board consists of 6 personnel including a Salvage Master, Salvage Engineer, and dive personnel. The shoreside support team includes naval architects, diving specialists and technical advisors. 10 ‘Pine Trader’ crew members remain on board, with all non-essential personnel having left the vessel.

Marine & Coastal Management’s (MCM)’s Inshore Patrol Vessel RUTH FIRST is now on the scene and will play a critical role as a proactive safety measure to protect life. In the event that the bulk carrier was to sink, the ‘Ruth First’ would rescue personnel and then monitor and mitigate any pollution. Safety of life and protection of the environment are top priorities during this operation and co-operation between SAMSA, MCM, relevant authorities and salvors continues to be excellent.

On Monday 18 May, the Master of the ‘Pine Trader’ advised the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre that the vessel had lost main engine power and that there was flooding in the engine room.

The ‘SMIT Amandla’ was dispatched from False Bay and successfully connected up to the ‘Pine Trader’ shortly after midnight on Monday, preventing her from running aground in the vicinity of Cape Infanta. PetroSA had earlier on Monday released the ‘SMIT Lloyd 33’ to assist as she was at the ‘Orca’ and located closest to the stricken bulk carrier. On Tuesday 19th May, SAMSA requested that MCM’s Inshore Patrol Vessel ‘Victoria Mxenge’ be dispatched to the casualty to standby and the she took 12 non-essential ship’s crew from the ‘Pine Trader’ onboard yesterday, landing them safely in Simon’s Town. An additional 2 personnel and the ship’s captain have been flown off of
the casualty.

The ‘Pine Trader’ has 220 tonnes of fuel onboard and is carrying a cargo of 20.500 tonnes of bagged rice, destined for Abidjan. The vessel was built in 1977 and has a gross tonnage of 18,322-gt. The vessel’s managers are based in Croatia. - source Smit Salvage/SAMSA

(See earlier reports of this casualty in PORTS & SHIPS News Bulletins)


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