South Africa Tells Stricken Bulk Carrier to Stay Away from Coast

Photo: SAMSA
Photo: SAMSA

South African officials are prohibiting the stricken bulk carrier Antaois from coming to within 30 miles of the South African coast until all fuel oil has been removed from the ship.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority is continuing to monitor the salvage of the bulk carrier in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Cape Town. The organization said Thursday that it was rolling out environmental safety measures that requires the offshore removal of the estimated 170 metric tonnes of bunker fuel aboard the Antaois before the ship can come anywhere near the coast.

The Greek-flagged Antaois suffered a fire and flooding in engine room on Sunday while underway from Argentina to the Middle East approximately 870 nautical miles west of Cape Town. All 19 crew members abandoned ship and picked up by another merchant ship that brought the crew to Cape Town. The bulk carrier is currently under tow by the salvage tug Smit Amandla towards Cape Town.

Photo: SAMSA
Photo: SAMSA

SASMA said the fuel removal is to ensure the safety of the environment.

“The South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) requires the owner to prioritise the removal of the casualty’s bunkers to neutralise any environmental threat before giving permission for the vessel to proceed closer to the South African coast,” SAMSA Executive Head for the Centre for Shipping, Captain Nigel Campbell.

“Until such time as the fuel transfer operation has been completed, vessel surveys undertaken and a comprehensive salvage plan approved, SAMSA has ordered that casualty remain at least 30 miles off.

“The multi?purpose tug Peridot is currently being mobilised from Cape Town, together with specialist personnel and equipment and will rendezvous with the convoy of tug and tow and commence preparations for the transfer of bunker fuel and water, which includes the pumping of the flooded engine room and repair of damage sustained,” said Captain Campbell.

The 27,700 dwt Antaois is said to be carrying a cargo of soya flour and corn. It is currently owned by Amalthia Marine Incorporated of Greece.