Salvors Working to Refloat Grounded VLCC in Java Sea

vlcc alice
Pictured here is the MT Alice, sister vessel to the MT Alex. Photo: Euronav

Salvors continue to work on refloating a Euronav very large crude carrier (VLCC) which ran aground in soft mud last week in the Java Sea.

Euronav reports that since April 14, a team of salvors from Smit and PT Samudera Indonesia have been working on the refloating operation, which includes lightening of the vessel’s cargo by ship-to-ship transfer.

The 299,446 dwt MT Alex was laden with oil when it ran aground between Borneo and Sumatra on April 12. The vessel remains softly aground in the same position.

Euronav says continued monitoring of ship’s condition has confirmed no breach of hull, cargo containment, or mechanical failures. The company said that as of April 17 the necessary arrangements for anti-pollution, fire-fighting and security at the site have been agreed. As of Tuesday permission to start a diving survey had been granted and was already underway. Tank inspection with a Class surveyor was planned for today.

The Belgium-flagged MT Alex was heading to China when she apparently ran aground on a “soft mud bottom”, Euronav said in an initial statement concerning the incident. No injuries or pollution have been reported.

With a fleet of 47 vessels comprising mostly VLCCs and Suezmaxes, NYSE-listed Euronav is the world’s largest independent crude oil tanker company. Built in 2016 by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, the MT Alex one of its newest and largest ships.