Salvage attempt of heavy-lift vessel Eemslift Hendrika underway
A salvage attempt of the Eemslift Hendrika is underway this morning. The Norwegian coastguard will try to place salvors onboard the drifting heavy-lift vessel where they will attempt to secure the towing lines of two tugs. The plan is to tow the vessel to shore. If the attempt doesn’t succeed, the vessel may run aground this afternoon.
The salvage operation is led by Smit Salvage, a subsidiary of Boskalis, which has hired the Norwegian tugs BB Ocean and Normand Drott to tow the vessel to safety. Both tugs arrived on site last night.
At 09.00 this morning, the salvors have flown out to the vessel to attempt to board it and secure the towing lines. “When this is done, an attempt will be made to tow the vessel into the sheltered water and anchor up. Then the ship will be stabilized before it is transported further”, Hans-Petter Mortensholm of the Norwegian Coastguard tells Norwegian newspaper NRK.
Mortensholm believes it will be possible to get the salvors on board the ship but warned that it will be tough. The Eemslift Hendrika is adrift in heavy seas and weather. The waves are 6 to 8 metres high on average and wind speeds are reaching 20 metres per second, meaning strong storm winds.
The vessel is now only 12 to 15 miles off the Norwegian coast. If the salvage attempt does not succeed, the vessel may ground later this afternoon.
The 4,200 dwt heavy-lift vessel ran into trouble on Monday while en route from Bremerhaven in Germany to the Norwegian port of Kolvereid. While sailing in heavy seas, cargo on board shifted causing the vessel to list and take in water. The 12 crew members of the vessel have been evacuated.
Since then, the vessel has been adrift. New footage from the Norwegian Coastguard also shows the vessel has lost cargo. One of the boats stowed on deck has fallen overboard. The upside is that the risk of capsizing has decreased and with it, the possibility of oil pollution as well.
The workboat that has fallen from the ship is reportedly still afloat some two kilometres from the Eemslift Hendrika. However, due to the oil on board the larger vessel, priority is being given to this ship. “We are first and foremost concerned about the bunker oil and that is on the main ship”, Mortensholm told NRK. The Eemslift Hendrika is carrying about 350 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and another 50 tonnes of diesel.