Image: Glen Martin

Image: Glen Martin

Update 21 August: Salvage kicks into high gear

Update 20 August -

The MV Smart has fully split in two overnight and authorities are scrambling to put together a plan to offload the fuel oil and cargo from the wreck perched on a sandbar just off a popular surfing beach at Richards Bay, South Africa.

A spokesperson for the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) has said there is an estimated 1,769 tons of fuel oil and 129 tons of diesel on board, but there is no immediate threat of a spill. The salvage will focus on the removal of the fuel first, the spokesperson said.

The ship had just finished loading 147,650 tonnes of coal at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) when she ran aground in 10 meter swells.

The Panamanian-flagged ship is registered to Alpha Marine Corp., Reuters reports. After loading at Richards Bay it was intended to deliver its cargo to a port in China, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Experts from the SA Maritime Safety Authority and salvage company Subtech are currently on board the Smart assessing the situation according to reports.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keWZk9-Z2gg[/youtube]

Earlier Update [AUGUST 19, 2013] -

A bulk carrier has run aground and appears to be breaking up along the east coast of South Africa near Richards Bay.

The 151,000 dwt bulk carrier MV Smart ran aground on a sandbar Monday in 10 meter swells after departing Port Richards Bay. The vessel had finished loading coal at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) earlier Monday.

Photos of the grounded ship show the hull has suffered structural failure at around amidships and is severely sagging.

The National Sea Rescue Institute was alerted of the grounding at about 1:30 p.m. local time. At approximately 4 p.m., the structural integrity of the ship was compromised and the captain gave the order to abandon ship, NSRI said in a statement.

All 23 crew members have been rescued by NSRI helicopter crews.

A source has told us that the vessel started to break in half and at this point may be in two pieces.

SAMSA (South African Maritime safety Authority) are en route to investigate and begin evaluations for salvage, the NSRI statement said.

A local news report said that the vessel was no longer under pilotage and may have experienced engine failure.

The incident comes just as the bulk carrier Kiani Satu was pulled free from a South African beach this weekend, but is believed to be in danger of sinking in deep water.

MV SMART INCIDENT PHOTOS:

Picture credit: Brynn Gericke / NSRI.

Picture credit: Brynn Gericke / NSRI.

Picture credit: Brynn Gericke / NSRI.

Picture credit: Brynn Gericke / NSRI.

9549924560_bff02eeee6_z

Picture credit: Brynn Gericke / NSRI.

Picture credit: Brynn Gericke / NSRI.

Picture credit: Brynn Gericke / NSRI.

Picture credit: Brynn Gericke / NSRI.

Picture credit: Brynn Gericke / NSRI.

1001710_10201183438821859_314088173_n

1148887_10201184357924836_656689475_n

South African photographer Daryl Visser captured the following images of the MV Smart as she was leaving the harbor, and before she broke apart yesterday.  See more at his Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/darylvisserphotography

mv smart

Image (c) Darry Visser Photography

mv smart

Image (c) Darry Visser Photography

AIS data for MV Smart provided by MarineTraffic.com

AIS data for MV Smart provided by MarineTraffic.com

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkztfFrWwtc[/youtube]
Tagged with →  
Share →
  • http://www.goshark.co.za/uncategorized/mv-smart-aground-at-richards-bay/ Robin
  • Joe

    Status: “Anchored.” I suppose you could say that…. :P

    • http://www.portsail.co.za Izak

      The politics of wrecks
      MV Smart ,a Cape size coal carrier, 173 m long and 43 m wide, with a draught of 17,4 m ran aground and broke up on 19 August on exiting the Port of Richards Bay.
      The channel depth is 22 m and extends to sea for 5 NM due east from the port. Both wind and current cross the channel diagonally.
      With a tidal range of 2 m one would want to sail such a vessel at spring tide.
      The 20th was a blue moon spring tide at 15h03. High tide on the day was at 14h43 with a channel depth of 22 m which means that in flat water there would have been 4,6 m clearance.
      Weather data for the day showed a 4,8 to 5,2 m swell with an 18 second period. The wind had died to about 12 knots but was gusting to 30 knots about 6 hours before.
      Marine pilotage is compulsory for all ships in Richards Bay.
      Wikepedia tells us that “A pilot is a mariner who guides ships through dangerous or congested waters, such as harbours or river mouths. Pilots are expert ship-handlers who possess detailed knowledge of local waterways.
      The master has full responsibility for safe navigation of his vessel, even if a pilot is on board. If he has clear grounds that the pilot may jeopardise the safety of navigation, he can relieve him from his duties and ask for another pilot or, if not compulsory to have a pilot on board, navigate the vessel without one. Only in transit of the Panama Canal does the pilot have the full responsibility for the navigation of the vessel.”
      Earlier in the day a marine pilot stated that no ships should leave the port until weather conditions had improved.
      Despite this warning, the vessel in question was allowed to sail.
      If the owners of the vessel were to insist on sailing despite the pilot’s directive, one would expect the port to require indemnities.
      Does the port not have the final say? What would the implications be if an incident could cause the blockage of the port? The ship is still moving in the swell and could come apart completely. Even now, if either the bow or stern of the stricken vessel breaks away and floats into the channel on a North Easter in a high tide and then capsizes in the channel, one would have a blocked port. In this instance, this situation could it be possible for the stern of the vessel if it does not have to drag a lot of cargo wreckage with it? The situation should perhaps be monitored very closely.
      One wonders why it sailed under such adverse conditions?
      The cost to ship owners is about US $18,000.00 a day at a berth and about US $ 75,000 to run. Delays in deliveries could attract penalties in some cases. Who knows if this financial motivation could have been the reason for sailing the vessel, as the motivation for that decision is not being disclosed at the moment.
      National Port Authority issued a statement that there was no TNPA pilot on board at the time the vessel ran aground.
      This is curious as the vessel was just approaching the most dangerous part of the port, namely the bar at the harbour mouth, where the waves are normally the highest.
      Therefore the pilot should have still been on board. Why did the pilot leave before the vessel had exited the channel, as just beyond the harbour entrance there are swells and currents that run diagonally across the channel and require further caution?
      Either way the port has to answer for the disaster, because if there was indeed a pilot on board, the vessel should have exited safely. The fact is that the pilot was taken off when he or she should have been on board the ship to guide her safely through the channel. Who was the pilot? At this stage that person’s identity is also not being disclosed to the media.
      After the ship struck the bottom, another pilot was put on board to direct the tugs that were summoned in an attempt to push the vessel off the channel’s north shoulder.
      Taking the questionable weather conditions into account, should the tugs not have remained attached to the ship and guided her out?
      It has become a common practice for pilots to disembark from vessels well before the vessel reaches the harbour entrance and tugs routinely disengage once they have guided the vessel away from the berth and it is underway.
      The media was told that there was engine failure. Well, ship’s engines are built not to be reliable considering the long journeys undertaken, so there must have been a serious reason for it to fail. Before sailing, the vessel would have been inspected by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), and it is doubtful that they would have let a vessel with a dicey engine leave the port.
      A pilot and tug engineer told me that the vessel bottomed out and then lost steerage and power. Well, there you have it. Rudder bent and then the prop jammed or stalled the engine. Maybe a bent drive shaft or broken couplings. Yes the engine did fail. So did lots of other things by the look of it.
      An oil spill could endanger the only grove of all three types of mangrove around and the endangered humpback dolphins of which there are only 300 left on this coastline and only 2 families in the bay.
      Media report that the owners have undertaken to cover the costs for any clean-up.
      My guess is that this case would probably result in a reported piece of precedent if a dispute as to who is responsible ever went to court.
      No, I think this will never see a court of law as an inquiry into what happened and who is to blame. It looks like a deal has been brokered between the parties and we are left with denials, propaganda, misinformation and the politics of wrecks. Well if that works….
      Thankfully, no life was lost and there seems to be no oil spillage and all the infrastructure to control a spill is already deployed.
      The management of the crisis has been excellent so far. What we heard on the radio was a very competent pilot directing the tugs. One tug master sounded stressed and perhaps a bit seasick. Well, 5m swells and not being accustomed to accompanying ships offshore…
      Bottom line is that to see such large vessel twisted in two is both shocking and very sad. Embarrassing for the port? Maybe. The captain and crew no longer have a ship. All their personal belongings have been taken off.
      A mountain of some pretty high grade coal is probably lying just off the north breakwater.
      Someone reported that they want to tow the vessel to cold water where the oil can solidify. Bunker fuel is like tar at zero degrees Centigrade. So they want to tow it to the southern ocean instead of just to port where they can control things and pump it all out, never mind salvage the engine, and other equipment?
      Anyway, the initial navigational math is readily apparent to anyone with a modicum of common sense as is the business of pilotage responsibility. Why then admit that there was no pilot on board? To technically make the master of the ship liable? Well it still implicates the port. Baffling.
      Like I said. The politics of wrecks…. Not simple. Or is it?

    • http://gcaptain John

      The Port should have been closed by the Port captain and the Pilot should have warned against sailing the vessel.
      South African Ports are run and managed by people who have never been to sea or have NO experience in the marine industry.
      Affirmative action strikes again.

  • Roy H J

    Been to Richards Bay many many times in the 70’s. I remember you had to go way way out of the coast before you could change your course north or south…..wonder if they turned too early. I was on a 123000 DWT ship, loading coal fro France. And yes, they have a good wave action off the coast, 8-10 meter waves was not uncommon

  • FWJ

    UPDATED INFORMATION ON Bulk Carrier Smart,previous name RUBIN-ACE
    RUBIN ACE
    SINGLE DECK CARRIER, DWT 151279 MTS, BLT 7/1996 JAPAN, M/E B&W 6S70MC
    SOLD FOR USD 10,500,000.00 TO GREEK BUYERS
    =======================================================
    Retiring ship RUBIN ACE port of DUNKERQUE(FRANCE)
    this ship heads in the pass of GRAVELINES.
    Saturday september 9,2006.
    Call Sign: 3FKG6
    Gross tonnage: 77240
    Type of ship: Bulk Carrier
    Year of build: 1996
    Flag: Panama
    Registered owner:ERICA NAVIGATION
    Address: PANAMA
    Ship manager: TOYO SANGYO
    Address: 2263-58, Oaza Namikata-Ko, Namikata Ehime Pref. JAPAN.
    =======================================================
    Vessel Identification
    Name: Smart
    IMO: 9137959
    Flag: Panama
    MMSI: 356659000
    Callsign: 3FKG6
    Former name(s):
    – Rubin Ace (Until 2012 Dec)
    ======================================================
    Technical Data
    Vessel type: Bulk Carrier
    Gross tonnage: 77,240 tons
    Summer DWT: 151,279 tons
    Length: 273 m
    Beam: 43 m
    Draught: 17.3 m
    Additional Information
    Class society: Nippon Kaiji Kyokai
    Build year: 1996
    =======================================================
    Builder*: Nkk Tsu Works – Tsu, Japan
    Owner: Toyo Sangyo – Imabari, Japan
    Manager: Toyo Sangyo – Imabari, Japan
    ============================================
    any info on possible faults on this ship?

  • HUGH JANUS

    Well… Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into Stanley !!!

  • FWJ

    N.G. Moundreas linked to cape bulker
    On the dry-bulk side, we understand that Japanese controlled cape RUBIN ACE (151K BLT 1996 NKK/JAPAN
    LDT 17757) was sold on private basis to clients of N.G. Moundreas of Greece for $10.5 million, according to the latest
    S&P report compiled by Lion Shipbrokers,this is an indication that this ship had faults,10.5 mil usd for a 2nd bulk ore carrier,isnt much,for a ship built in 1996,and it doesnt break in half just running aground on a sand bank,within minutes.this needs to be investigated

  • http://bambipedro@gmail.com pedro bambi

    i am just facing the pictures, very shocking as i can see!

    storekeeper
    dss-offshore

  • sinu mani

    can u give the list of employee names. my uncle was also missing he is from mumbai,india.

Sign up for the gCaptain Newsletter!

Over 31,000 people receive the gCaptain email newsletter every single day. Get the maritime and offshore industry headlines that matter sent straight to your inbox. Or LIKE us on Facebook!

We will not share your email address with anybody for any reason