South Africa’s National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has reported that as of 1002 local time, all 19 crew members from the bulk carrier Kiani Satu are safe after being airlifted from their stricken vessel.
The 165-meter bulk carrier was transporting a cargo of rice from Cape Town to Gabon Hong Kong to Ghana when it encountered engine troubles along the southern shore of South Africa. They alerted the NSRI at 0339 this morning of their situation.
“The crew members, Ukranian and Filipino nationals, are handed into the care of Police Sea Borderline and they will be transported to Mossel Bay for visa control processing and accommodated,” commented Graeme Harding, NSRI Knysna station commander.
“The ship had washed side on to the shore during the early morning and came to rest hard aground after her anchor dragged and the tug boat was not able to hold her off against rough sea swells of 5 meters and strong gusting to 45 knot onshore winds. The decision was taken by the ships Captain to abandon the ship and the safest method was to deploy the helicopter and hoist the crew off the ship while our NSRI rescue boats stood by to assist if necessary.”
The salvage vessel SMIT AMANDLA has been dispatched from Cape Town and is expected to reach the scene the evening of 8 August, notes the NSRI.
A wet cargo of rice could spell the demise of the Kiani Satu however. As one person has noted, rice absorbs water, and thus a cargo of wet rice could put an order of magnitude more strain on the hull, complicating salvage efforts.
Rice could also be a fairly dangerous cargo from salvage standpoint. As a friend of mine in the food business explained, wet (saturated) rice is an incredibly good breeding ground for bacteria. Removing hundreds of thousands of pounds of moldy rice could require an entirely different approach to this salvage job.
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