Several ships needed emergency tug towage or search and rescue assistance off Vietnam in the past week in stormy conditions
Tugs also assisted damaged vessels in Egypt and the UK during the past week, highlighting the importance of salvage services to maritime.
Several cargo ships sent distress signals in the South China sea off Vietnam during storm conditions over the past week, with the most recent emergencies on 21 December involving a tanker and cargo ship.
Product tanker Chem Sinyoo reported a fatal engineroom accident while en route from Singapore to China. At least one seafarer reportedly died and four others were injured in the accident that disabled the 2002-built ship. Vietnamese coast guard and maritime safety authorities sent vessels to assist.
They also sent vessels to assist general cargo ship Dong Yang on 21 December. This 1990-built ship sent a distress signal after it started sinking. According to Fleetmon, Dong Yang developed 25º list in stormy weather and the crew abandoned ship into a liferaft.
On 19 December, container ship Biendong Trader suffered engine failure off southern Vietnam. This 2006-built ship was drifting from its anchor in rough seas for two days before assistance vessels and a tug could reach it. By 21 December Biendong Trader was anchored off Cam Ranh Bay.
Also during adverse weather, general cargo ship Xin Hong issued a distress signal before disappearing from AIS off southern Vietnam. According to Fleetmon, it was sailing from Lumut, Malaysia to China with 7,800 tonnes of clay on board. Cargo shifted on this 1999-built ship, causing a list. Search and rescue and coast guard vessels were sent to the stranded ship, but it is thought the ship sank and all 15 crew were missing.
In the Yellow Sea, bulk carrier Jin Hang Yu ran aground at Penglai anchorage, Shandong, China on 18 December. This caused flooding in the engineroom, crew evacuation and calls for the ship’s salvage.
Elsewhere, tugs were challenged salvaging an ultra large container ship grounded in the Suez Canal on 18 December. Hapag-Lloyd-managed, 2015-built ship Al Zubara ran aground in the Ismailya area while transiting south. Tugs were able to dislodge this 19,870-TEU container ship, enabling it to continue its voyage to Singapore.
In the UK, a tug and an offshore support vessel assisted a damaged fishing vessel after it suffered damage from an external explosion. According to the UK Government’s Maritime Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), Galwad-Y-Mor was severely damaged and its crew were injured by the explosion on 15 December. The 2007-built vessel was on fishing grounds east of the Wash, England when the accident happened.
Galwad-Y-Mor was thrown up from the sea surface, then landed heavily back down. All propulsion and electrical power was immediately lost and the wheelhouse was completely wrecked. After the master raised the alarm, crew abandoned the vessel and activated the electronic position indicating radio beacon. Assistance arrived from nearby support vessel Esvagt Njord which rescued crew and transferred them ashore to hospital by helicopter and lifeboat.
Harbour tug GPS Avenger, operated by Landfill Marine Contractors, sailed to assist. It towed abandoned Galwad-Y-Mor to Grimsby, where MAIB investigated the cause of the accident. 2013-built GPS Avenger is a 27-m shallow draft anchor handling tug and utility vessel with 39 tonnes of bollard pull.
MAIB’s initial conclusion from its investigation to date is the explosion was in the water and external to the vessel.
The source of the explosion has not been determined, “but it was possible that old munitions on the seabed were disturbed as the vessel hauled its pots” said MAIB. “There was nothing the crew could have done to prevent the accident,” investigators said.
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