As known to most seamen, the river Scheldt and the Westerschelde are inconstant sea routes with their walking sand banks. Despite regular water depth surveys by the Belgium and Dutch Ministry of Water Management and the availability of pilots, regularly these waterways make their victims. One of them was the 3802 TEU container carrier ’Fowairet’, which grounded one hour after high tide near Perkpolder. During grounding the ’Fowairet’ was carrying 1952 containers, 127 of them with dangerous goods.
During low tide it became clear that the vessel had suffered serious hogging. At this situation a Lloyd’s Open Form 2000 salvage agreement was signed with joint salvors Terneuzen-based Multraship Salvage and URS Salvage and Maritime Contracting. The salvors mobilised 14 tugs, which successfully refloated the vessel at high tide. Afterwards the vessel was brought into the Flushing Sloe Harbour. Here the delicate discharge operation began to lighten the vessel keeping in mind the seriously reduced longitudinal strength of the vessel.
Approximately 600 containers had to be discharged into barges. The remaining containers were discharged at the Verbrugge Terminal of Flushing-East. In the mean time, salvors pumped out the fuel oil from the vessel’s damaged and leaking tanks into a lightering tanker, attended by salvage craft, oil booms and on-site anti-pollution craft.
A contract for structural repairs to the vessel was awarded to Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam, including the removal of the 27.90 m long, 1600 ton damaged hull part. The shortened vessel left the yard for sea trials and came back into service. The vessel was brought back to her original length after an unknown shipyard completed a new mid-section.
On request of Multraship Salvage and URS Salvage and Maritime Contracting, Vuyk send a naval architect to the casualty’s site to assist the salvage crew and to calculate and attend the discharge procedure. Furthermore, at the request of Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam, Vuyk assisted with calculations for docking of the damaged vessel, floating of the fore and aft part to enable shortening of the vessel.
|Principal characteristics of the casualty|
|Owner||United Arab Shipping Co.|
|Built by||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Nagasaki|
|Gross tonnage||48 154 GT|
|Deadweight||49 844 ton|
|Length overall||276.50 m|
|Length between perpendiculars||259.90 m|
|Breadth moulded||32.20 m|
|Depth moulded||21.20 m|
|Draft loaded||12.50 m|
|Container capacity||3 802 TEU|
|Classed by||Lloyd’s Register of Shipping|