The plume of coal coming from the grounded MV SMART is easily visible in this photo provided by Subtech Group.

The plume of coal coming from the grounded MV SMART is easily visible in this photo provided by Subtech Group.

Salvors in South Africa have removed all heavy fuel oil from the capesize bulk carrier MV Smart, which ran aground and broke up on a sand bar on August 19 while departing the Port of Richards Bay laden with 147,650 tons of coal.

FULL COVERAGE: MV Smart Grounding

In a statement, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said that all oil on board -an estimated 1,769 tons of fuel oil and 129 tons of diesel- has been removed, ending phase 1 of the salvage. The statement notes that although a plume of coal dust can be seen in the water surrounding the vessel due to the exposed cargo, there has been no escape of oil into the sea during the entire oil removal operation.

SAMSA adds that holds No 1, 2 & 3 and the engine room are all dry and the vessel’s generators are operational. Meanwhile the wreck itself is stable and there has been no considerable change in position.

As gCaptain reported previously, pollution response and fuel removal is being led by the South African-based maritime services company, Subtech Group, along with SMIT.

Preparations are now underway to discharge about 10,000 tons of coal from the MV Smart’s No. 9 hold. The operation is expected to commence this Friday, weather permitting, using the DP2 multipurpose vessel Armada Condor.

Meanwhile, various potential bidders for the wreck removal tender are on site for assessment purposes, according to SAMSA.

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