Salvors re-board MSC Flaminia as managers hunt for safe haven
Mike Weir | Wednesday, 08 August 2012
Reederei NSB negotiates with 'several' countries as wider questions are raised over ocean freight safety
The stricken vessel (pictured three weeks ago) had previously been towed to within 100 nautical miles of the UK mainland but by 31 July, amid worsening weather conditions, firefighters were unable to board and the ship was towed back out to sea.
According to the ship’s managers, Germany-based Reederei NSB, the MSC Flaminia is currently 360 miles off-shore.
In its latest statement, published Monday, the company said: “Thanks to improving weather conditions, a team of firefighting experts is able to board MSC Flaminia and continue the salvaging efforts.
“The current measures aim at inspecting areas which had not been accessible so far. Also, data is being collected to calculate and assess the stability of the vessel.
The fire is believed to have originated in cargo hold 4 but salvors have said that there is no longer any fire in holds 4, 5 or 6 and that smoke from hold 7, adjacent to the superstructure, has ‘declined significantly’.
“Temperatures in this area are also dropping again,” said the company. “Currently, no cooling by the accompanying tugboats is necessary. MSC Flaminia is still listing by approximately 10 degrees.”
A spokesman for Reederei NSB told Lloyd’s Loading List.com today that the situation remained unchanged as the company negotiated with ‘several’ countries in its efforts to find a safe coastal haven for the listing 6,732 teu ship.
One member of the crew was killed, one remains missing and three others were injured when the original explosion occurred. A second explosion on 17 July put a temporary halt to firefighting efforts.
In legal and regulatory terms, key questions raised by the MSC Flaminia could turn the incident into one of the most significant ocean freight transport events of recent years.
Questions have already been raised as to how cargo with the potential to explode found its way aboard and beneath deck, while some commentators have suggested that if such cargo was misdeclared by the exporter, the incident should invigorate industry and government efforts to tackle the endemic issue of misdeclaration.
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