Damage to Grounded Car Carrier Worse Than Thought; Complex Salvage Lies Ahead

Makassary Highway aground off Sweden
The Panama-flagged Makassar Highway aground off Sweden. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Extensive damage has been found on the hull of the vehicle carrier Makassar Highway off the coast of Sweden.

An underwater inspection of vessel carried out Tuesday revealed several breaches of the hull and water ingress in a ‘couple’ of tanks which will require a complex salvage operation to make safe.

The full extent of damage is still not known because a large part of the 139-meter ship’s bottom rests on the rocky seabed.

The Panama-flagged Makassar Highway ran hard aground off Loftahammar, Sweden on Monday morning while underway from Cuxhaven, Germany from Sodertalije, Sweden.

The cause of the grounding is still under investigation but Swedish media reported that one crew member had been taken into custody on suspicion of being intoxicated.

So far no oil pollution has been reported.

The vessel is reported to hold 333,000 liters of fuel oil, 38,000 liters of lube oil and 34,000 liters of diesel.

Salvors are expected to remove all oil from the impacted tanks before attempting to move the ship.

“The ship is hard on a rocky ground, and it will require extensive work before it can talk about getting rid of the ship,” says on-site coordinator Roger Gebauer.

An underwater inspection of the vessel on Tuesday revealed extensive damage to the hull. The Swedish Coast Guard reported a hole in the forepeak tank with water ingress, a hole in the bow thruster, metal damage to the bulb and along the port side. Water intrusion has been reported in multiple tanks as well.

The Swedish Coast Guard is working with the Swedish Transport Agency, the shipping company’s insurance companies and an appointed salvage company on a salvage plan for the vessel.

“Our role is to prevent, prevent and limit emissions of oil to protect the marine environment. It is the shipping company’s responsibility to handle the salvage and it must be approved by the Transport Agency’s inspector who is on board the shipwreck, “said Roger Gebauer.

Weather on scene is expected to remain favorable for the next several days.