Home » Press Releases » MT Phoenix in the deep

Durban, 5 September 2011 – South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) removed the MT Phoenix on Saturday (3rdSeptember 2011) from the shores of the Salt Shark Rocks.  After two attempts to refloat the vessel on the 1stand 2nd of August 2011, yesterday proved to be SAMSA’s last and final attempt to permanently put an end to the MT Phoenix’s journey.

The successful refloatation of the MT Phoenix was dependent on the combination of the below two factors.

The state of the vessel had deteriorated in the process and a 300mm crack in the engine room had developed into a more than 2 metre opening, which was irreparable in the given conditions. SAMSA and the salvage team repaired the damages in order that the vessel would be adequately buoyant when pulled out. The engine room would be tidal as the opening could not be repaired effectively. The naval architects reports also indicated that the vessel would continue to float in its present condition even after the engine room was flooded.

Even though the vessel is of a strong built, there was no guarantee that her structural integrity would hold, at the time of pulling, and for how long. In any event, the vessel had to be dragged over the rocks where she had marooned as calculations indicated that she had at least a 7 metre trim when and she floated.

The ideal conditions would have been a swell of at least 2,5 metres and spring tide height; which had fortunately been predicted for the day.

Sobantu Tilayi, the executive head at SAMSA’s Centre for Shipping Services “Removal of the MT Phoenix was crucial to ensure the safety of our environment and the protection of a new tourist destination on the KZN North Coast, Sheffield Beach near Salt Rock.   We are satisfied with the removal of the MT Phoenix, a BIG THANK YOU to our partners.”

He continues to say “ Although conditions were not favourable leading up to the morning of the removal; Mother Nature started to play ball at around 6am and we started pulling.  We went up to about 90-percent of power on the two tug boats that were pulling and the ship started moving because she had turned around seaward; and by 7.30 am she was free.

 

Photo by Ray Roberts

 

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