MSC Flaminia Heading Home

Damage to the MSC Flaminia can be seen as the vessel sat off the coast of the UK for nearly a month after being rocked by two separate explosions. Image: Reederei NSB.

More than a month since erupting in flames and smoke while 1,000 miles from land in the Atlantic ocean, the MSC Flaminia has been granted access to a European anchorage where salvage efforts can finally get underway.

German-based Reederei NSB, who manages the MSC Flaminia, says that permission to enter German territorial waters has been obtained in cooperation with the German Ministry of Transportation’s German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies in Cuxhaven. According to a press statement, the MSC Flaminia will be towed to sheltered anchorage in German waters of the North Sea and eventually be transferred to a port where salvage efforts can proceed. While anchored, a team of experts ranging from firefighters to chemists and engineers will identify any hazards emanating from the vessel and its cargo. Only afterwards will a decision be made on which port the vessel will be towed.

“We are glad that after the assignment to the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies, the salvage of our MSC FLAMINIA is finally proceeding. To us this indicates that our company’s philosophy is right and the German flag pays off”, Helmut Ponath, CEO of Reederei NSB, said on a joint press conference in Bremerhaven.

MSC Flaminia and its accompanying group of tugs have been idled off the coast of Britain since July 26th and denied access to a port due to the hazardous nature of damaged vessel. The group is currently located approximately 350 nautical miles off the entrance to the English Channel and the vessel is expected to reach a so-called sheltered area in German territorial waters the week after next.

MSC Flaminia suffered a fire and subsequent explosion on July 14 while enroute from Charleston, USA to Bremerhaven (via Antwerp and Felixstowe). The blast left one seafarer dead and one still remains missing. A third seafarer remains in critical condition and is treated in a specialty hospital for burn wounds. The crew had abandoned the burning vessel and was rescued by an oil tanker.

The German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies estimates that the complete salvage operation will take up to two months.

READ: ALL MSC FLAMINIA UPDATES