Update: The Kiani Satu has been successfully refloated this morning according to a statement by Captain Nigel Campbell from the SA Maritime Safety Authority.
“At 11:20 today [Saturday] she came off. I am so excited I cannot think straight,” Captain Nigel Campbell told reporters in South Africa.
Campbell notes that their next course of action is to take the vessel approximately 10 miles out to sea and eventually tow her to Cape Town. The weather conditions are “abysmal” he added.
It’s been just over a week since the Kiani Satu ran aground on the southern coast of South Africa and as of yesterday, Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Alan Winde confirmed that the heavy fuel oil on board the vessel as stopped leaking into the sea.
As these images show, the salvors have made progress pulling the bow of the ship around to face the sea, however she is still firmly planted on the sea floor.
The seaward movement of the Kiani Satu’s bow is a significant accomplishment for the salvors as gale is projected to hit this area over the weekend. According to the latest forecast, westerly winds up to 40 knots, and seas up to 8 meters are expected on Saturday. On Sunday, wave heights could top out at 14 meters in areas between Cape Agulhas and port Alfred. The Kiani Satu is grounded in the middle of that region.
The weather is a curse and a blessing. The big seas could be just the lift she needs to get her off the sand, however they could also spell her demise.
The following animation was created from U.S. Navy FNMOC 10 meter surface data. This animation shows the forecasted weather over the next 42 hours.
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