Tow planned for adrift cargo ship this afternoon
The Dutch cargo ship, Eemslift Hendrika, which has been operating without crew and engine in the Norwegian Sea since Monday evening, is scheduled to be towed to safety this evening . . . if all goes as planned.
Eemslift Hendrika was loaded with service boats to be used in the aquaculture industry, according to NRK.
One work boat which was in the middle of the deck fell off in the storm on Tuesday, and is now a few nautical miles from the casualty. The boat (green vessel seen in image below), which is owned by the company AQS, seemingly has a value of NOK 66 million. The aim is to salvage that today as well.
“The fact that the work boat disappeared may have had a positive effect on the stability of the ship [Eemslift Hendrika] and may have contributed to avoiding capsizing,” the Norwegian Coastal Administration told NRK.
The organisation has chosen to prioritise securing the largest boat, Eemslift Hendrika.
Two tugboats have arrived and four salvage experts from the Netherlands are expected to be transported to the ship by helicopter this morning.
“These are personnel who are trained for such situations. But having said that, the conditions are tough,” says Hans-Petter Mortensholm, from the Norwegian Coastal Administration.
Captain Henning Solberg, from Coast Guard ship KV Sortland, told NRK that the weather conditions are challenging. He says there are waves of 6-8m with peaks of 12-13m. He believes the rescue operation could be demanding.
“It seems that the ship is stable even if it tilts. There are still challenging weather conditions here, so it will be a risk for the crew to go on board if the boat continues to sway as it has done. But they probably make an assessment themselves,” says Solberg.
The aim is for two tugs to tow the ship ashore, but first a crew must be hoisted on board from a helicopter to attach a tow rope to the boat.
“The plan is that these will then start the work of rigging for tow when they are on board the ship. When this is done, an attempt will be made to drag the vessel into the screen waters and anchor up. Then the ship will be stabilised before it is transported on,” says Mortensholm.
He says that they will start the salvage work as soon as possible.
“It is first and foremost the weather that makes this challenging. The work itself is basically not problematic,” says Mortensholm.
“This is an operation that one prefers to do in daylight. The goal is to start when it gets light, but one must consider the weather conditions. It must be safe for the personnel performing the job.”
Towing lines were seen aft of the cargo ship before the crew left the ship.
Det er fortsatt fare for at lasteskipet Eemslift Hendrika skal kantre og synke. KV Sortland er nå fremme ved havaristen. På kan du følge utviklingen i saken.— Kystverket (@Kystverket) April 6, 2021