A Kenya Ports Authority Tug boat (right) struggles to rescue a Cargo vessel Mv Theresa Arctic around Kilifi waters of the Indian Ocean in Kilifi County on Saturday,024th June,2017 evening. The Vessel that was transporting 27,500 tons of Vegetable Oil from Malaysia to the port of Mombasa ran aground near the entrance to the Kilifi Creek about 55 nautical miles from Mombasa Port while sailing to the port.[Maarufu Mohamed,Standard]
A reputable international firm has been contracted to assist in salvaging a chemical tanker vessel that ran aground near the coastline off Kilifi town.
Salvage operations to re-float a Tuvalu-flagged chemical tanker MT Theresa Arctic that ran aground off the Kilifi Coast on June 20 were delayed by bad weather being experienced in the Indian Ocean.
Reports indicated Kenyan authorities lacked the capacity to salvage the vessel, which was laden with 46,000 tonnes of vegetable fat.
Meanwhile, there were reports that a ship from Marshall Islands had been dispatched to the site of the stricken ship to load away the cargo in order to aid salvage operations.
Maritime experts suspected the ship was stuck in a coral reef or sand bar, a phenomenon that might have been caused by miscalculation in navigation.
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Reports indicated the ship ran aground on June 20 but there was no indication on the number of crew on board.
In some cases, ships run aground when they sail into shallow waters and lack adequate bouyancy to enable them sail away.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) announced it had sought the assistance of Smit Salvage from Holland together with Alpha Logistics based in Mombasa to help in refloating MT Theresa Arctic.
“We had to bring on board Smit Salvage and Alpha Logistics to work alongside our marine team in efforts to bring into position the vessel and avoid damage to it and the fragile maritime environment,” KPA spokesman Benard Osero said.
Mr Osero said they expected to have the ship lightened and the salvage operation complete by tomorrow.
And Osero said a second vessel was to be brought in to help offload some of the cargo.
MT Theresa Artic had originated from Port Keelang, Malaysia, and was expected to dock at berth 9 on June 20, 2017 when the accident occurred on the same day.
Mombasa Port Civil Society Organisation Platform chairman Andrew Mwangura said a Marshall Islands chemical/oil products tanker MT Alpine Duke had safely called Mombasa Port to load the 46,000 tonnes of vegetable oil from the ill-fated vessel before the salvage operation could start.
The distance from the scene of the accident, which is right near the entrance of Kilifi creek according to maritime sources, to the port is 102km and the vessel is a regular caller at East African seaports.
The huge vessel with its black-and-white coloured hull side is clearly visible as one crosses the Kilifi bridge.
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