08 September 2011

MT Phoenix set on course for sinking after numerous delays:

The ship was set to be laid to rest about 18 to 20 hours after being pulled off
Due to poor weather conditions at sea, the sinking of the MT Phoenix has been delayed. The ship was set to be laid to rest about 18 to 20 hours after being pulled off the rocks at Sheffield Beach. Officials hope the vessel can be sunk as soon as possible.
The 164m, 47-year-old oil tanker was en route to an Indian scrap yard from West Africa, and had a skeleton crew of 15 on board. Although the salvage team was cheered on by a large crowd and fireworks, operations were stopped primarily because of poor sea swells and strong winds. Salvage crew members were monitoring the vessel to ensure rope tension did not slacken. Wildlife and environmental officials are also monitoring the situation from the beach.

The MT Phoenix was 30km from its designated sinking site, where it would have the least environmental impact, near Durban. It was far enough to not damage the protected marine area. And although there have been numerous offers to buy the ship from the beginning, and scrapping the ship on the shore would have presented its own challenges, sinking the MT Phoenix is still the cheapest and most practical option.

Currently, water has begun being pumped into the vessel and all salvage equipment has been removed. Fading light in the recent days had forced crew to halt the sinking process. It is projected by crew and officials monitoring the situation that the MT Phoenix will be gone from the water's surface in coming hours.

Source: safety4sea. (Sourced from Maritime Executive). 07 September 2011

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