Amalthia urged to prioritise removal of bunkers from stricken vessel
09 Dec 2016 10:28 GMT
|Bulker Antaios has been ordered to remain at least 30 miles off the coast of South Africa until fuel is removed.|
| Preparations are currently under way for the removal of bunker fuel from the stricken bulk carrier Antaios, which was abandoned by its crew in the Atlantic Ocean, west of Cape Town, after a fire took place in the engine room.|
The Liberia-flagged vessel was en route from San Lorenzo, Argentina, laden with a cargo of soya flour and corn, when a fire is said to have broken out in the engine room on 2nd December as a result of the diesel generator overheating. The blaze was extinguished, but the damage caused by the incident led to engine room water ingress. A distress signal was issued and the ore carrier NSU Inspire responded to the call, rescuing the crew on board.
The Antaios is currently under tow by the salvage tug Smit Amandla. The South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) has ordered that the vessel remain at least 30 miles off the coast of South Africa until the marine fuel on board - estimated to be around 170 metric tonnes - is removed.
Nigel Campbell, Executive Head for the Centre for Shipping at SAMSA, said: "The South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) requires the owner to prioritise the removal of the casualty's bunkers to neutralise any environmental threat before giving permission for the vessel to proceed closer to the South African coast.
"Until such time as the fuel transfer operation has been completed, vessel surveys undertaken and a comprehensive salvage plan approved, SAMSA has ordered that casualty remain at least 30 miles off."
Campbell added: "The multi-purpose tug 'Peridot' is currently being mobilised from Cape Town, together with specialist personnel and equipment and will rendezvous with the convoy of tug and tow and commence preparations for the transfer of bunker fuel and water, which includes the pumping of the flooded engine room and repair of damage sustained."
The Antaios is owned by Athens-based Amalthia Marine Inc. It has an overall length of 169 metres and a maximum draft of 7.5 metres. The deadweight of the vessel is 27,776 dwt and the gross tonnage is 18,095 grt.