SvitzerWijsmuller to salvage logs from Kiperousa

Aug 4, 2005
Author: P&S

The Danish salvage company SvitzerWijsmuller, which is a division of the AP Moller-Maersk Group and which recently opened a division in South Africa, has been awarded a contract to remove the balance of cargo from the grounded bulker Kiperousa.

The previous salvage contract with the Greek salvage company Tsavliris involved the unsuccessful refloating of the Kiperousa after the bulker went aground off the South African Eastern Cape coast on 7 June. Apart from attempting to refloat the vessel, the team also undertook to remove the deck cargo of about 1600 hardwood logs loaded in Gabon in an effort to lighten the vessel.

These efforts came to an end on 24 July when the vessel was declared a total economic loss and the salvage attempt was abandoned (see PORTS & SHIP NEWS report dated 24 July). Approximately 6500 logs remain stowed in the holds of the flooded ship.

A new contract has been awarded in favour of SvitzerWijsmuller and the Tsavliris team has departed from the scene. The heavylift Mi26 helicopter that was brought in from Central Africa to help discharge the deck cargo after attempts at using supply tugs has also left. The helicopter has returned to Central Africa where it is believed to have a contract delivering food aid in Sudan.

The Tsavliris tug Nicolay Chiker called briefly at East London at the weekend for repairs after receiving damage in the salvage attempt but has since sailed.

The team from the South African offices of SvitzerWijsmuller, led by Captain Nic Sloane, is already on site and making preparations to remove the balance of cargo, which had an estimated value in excess of US0m when the ship sailed from Gabon. The attempt is expected to take up to two months.

Two barges are being brought to the scene - one from Durban and the other, a larger barge from the Middle East. Arrangements have been made with the National Ports Authority at East London to store the logs at a site in East London harbour.

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