Asian Forest salvage operations begin, finally

Asian Forest salvage operations begin, finally

Deputy Commissioner V Ponnuraj holding discussion with  representatives of SMIT Singapore Private Limited in Mangalore on Tuesday. DH photoSSPL has given assurance to the district administration that the oil will be completely removed from the ship safely without any pollution within 36 days. The assistant salvage master of the company Wan Yet Fong made a presentation before the district administration, Port and Coast Guard authorities on the salvage operations at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office.

Briefing about the operations, Fong said that the oil will be extracted completely from the vessel without any leakage using hot tap system unit. “The salvage operation will be carried out in three major phases - mobilisation, execution and demobilisation.

Entire operation will be carried out by pumping out oil from all accessible bunkers through FOT vents. A combination of air driven and hydraulic driven pumps will be used depending on the viscosity of the bunkers, he explained.

Fong said that the hot tap system methodology is being used based on the condition of the wreck as it was last inspected by SMIT on December 1, 2 and 3. In the mobilisation phase, the craft (Hako Esteem), bunker barge (MOB Gazraaj), tug, hot tap system unit, diving equipment, pumping equipment, oil pollution control boat and personnel will be mobilised.

The execution phase involves various stages including offshore preparations, positioning moored craft, deploying of oil booms, cutting of vent heads (hot tapping), pumping oil from 16 bunker tanks and controlling pollution, he added.

Oil booms, oil skimmers and oil dispersant will be used to check the possible oil spill and pollution as part of the oil spill contingency plan. In the demobilisation phase, craft, equipment and personnel will be demobilised once the P&I Club representatives are satisfied with the oil removal. The demobilisation process will take another 12 days, Fong said.

MV Asian Forest, with 2007 registration, had sailed out from New Mangalore Port with 13,600 MT of iron ore fines to Zhavgjiagang in China at around 9.30 am on July 17. The vessel, which started sinking due to a heavy list on July 18, was grounded completely to about 27 meter depth six nautical miles away from New Mangalore Port on July 19.

All the 18 crew members including captain Yin Shang Yan were rescued by the Indian Coast Guard ship ‘ICGS Sankalp’.

Removal of wreck
Deputy Commissioner V Ponnuraj directed the representative of the ship owner, Chris Farmer, to initiate the second phase of salvage operation to remove wreck from the ocean immediately after the oil removal. The DC asked Farmer to prepare an action plan for the removal of wreck soon.

Talking about crew members, Ponnuraj said that 11 out of 18 crew members were allowed to return to China. While six persons were let off on November 24, another batch of 5 members left India on December 8. Meanwhile, one more crew member was allowed to go on health grounds on Monday, December 28, he added.  Coast Guard Commandant P S Jha, Additional DC Prabhakar Sharma and Vishwakarma Mechanical Works managing director Ketan Gajjar were present.

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