"Transnet Tug and Effective Teamwork Avert Second Potential Maritime Disaster"

20:43 (GMT+2) Mon, 20 Mar 2017

The vessel BBC Shanghai is undergoing repairs in East London harbour after being towed into port in a joint operation between the Ports of East London and Ngqura and the South African Maritime Safety Authority.

In a statement Monday, Transnet National Ports Authority said the 101 metre long general cargo vessel suffered engine failure en route from Durban to Lagos.

TNPA says it dispatched one of its powerful new tugs, SHASA, from East London with a crew of 10 on Thursday to assist in towing the stricken vessel, which was drifting 35 kms of Mazeppa Bay on the Wild Coast.

“Two other East London tugs, IMPUNZI and UMTHWALUME, both with a 43 ton bollard pull, and the pilot boat, TRISTAN TERN, with an 18 ton bollard pull, helped guide the stricken vessel safely into port” on Friday.

“The salvage of this vessel is testament to the capability of our marine operations, both in terms of the fleet and the skill of our teams who worked together seamlessly with all role players,” said East London Port Manager, Jacqueline Brown.

TNPA said this is the second incident in less than five weeks where TNPA, in collaboration with SAMSA and other bodies, has salvaged vessels.

In mid-February a joint effort undertaken by a comprehensive Disaster Management team at the Port of Ngqura, saved the APL AUSTRIA and minimised the environmental impact, after the container vessel caught fire 30 nautical miles South-west of Cape St Francis. She was towed into the Port of Nqura where the fire was extinguished.

“The newer more powerful tugs, such as the SHASA, are proving their worth. The tugs have Voith Schneider propulsion which makes them highly manoeuvrable and able to change direction and thrust almost instantaneously while guiding large vessels safely into port.

“During the recovery of the APL AUSTRIA they were instrumental in controlling the fire by blanket spraying the vessel and providing boundary cooling to containers at anchorage as the vessel docked,” added Ngqura Port Manager, Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana.