Friday, September 29, 2006

Galp Funchal (2) continuation

(continuation from the previous post)
By this time, the hole had about 3 X 3 meters. Fortunately it was a ballast tank, namely the portside deep tank that was empty at the time. The shell plating had been completely torn off. This tank was contiguous to Portside Cargo Tank Nº1, which was fully loaded of crude. To avoid the heavy weather from further damaging the hull and the fore bulkhead of the cargo tank it was decided to turn around the ship in order to protect the bow thus reducing the risk of an oil spill.

Galp Funchal after changing the heading to protect the bow

After all the mandatory reports to owners, managers, South African authorities, classification society, etc., several options were considered, including seeking shelter in a South African port. Due to the on-going heavy weather, we just had to do our best to avoid the seas from hitting the bow…

When the weather conditions improved, the salvage tug
WOLRAAD WOLTEMADE approached to offer assistance. By this time the deep tank was already flooded and we had a slight portside list. Now we could not see the hole at all because it was below the water line and the swell was gone.

After agreement between Owners and Salvage Company, the tug boat representative came onboard on a speed boat in order to have the LOF signed by the master.

The plan was that Wolraad Woltemade would make fast a towing line on the aft bollards of Galp Funchal, and then tow the VLCC by her stern (to protect and avoid too much strain on the bow) to the sheltered waters of Mozambique channel, where the ship would be discharged to another tanker.

After the towing arrangement was ready, Wolraad Woltemade started positioning in order to tow in the adequate heading. As soon as the tug started pulling we heard a loud noise and, when we got to the aft station, we saw that the wire had cut the rails, the flagstaff, the rollers and fairleads.

As this was no longer a safe arrangement, the wire was cut and we proceeded by our own means steaming dead slow ahead with the salvage tug in attendance heading for Mozambique channel.

When we finally got there we had to wait for perfect weather conditions for the ship to ship transfer operation, and for the ULCC that would take our cargo to Sines. The vessel chosen was
MARINE ATLANTIC, a 362 meters long ULCC with a massive 404531 tons of deadweight.