Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Yantian Express - endless speculation - updated

People are eager to learn how how things are going with the fire fighting and salvage of the ship Yantian Express. This can result in speculation which spreads and is reported as fact. Regrettably this does little except to keep the situation on the front page. [I plead guilty].

Here is what we know for certain:

The Fire
HAPAG-Lloyd's press release of January 10 stated that the fire was under control.
That does not mean the fire is out.

The fire apparently started with containers on deck, but H-L warns that there is likely direct or consequential damage to containers below deck. [see previous posts]

The tugs SMIT Nicobar and Maersk Mobiliser have very good firefighting capability. However they would have limited quantities of foam on board, and if they were using foam, they may have exhausted supplies by now. If Maersk Mobiliser was towing the ship, it would be difficult for it to fight the fire at the same time. However it also has superior accommodation for evacuees. It is likely it brought fresh supplies of food, etc., from St.John's

As the more powerful tug on scene, it would make sense for it to tow the ship. It is also Canadian and presumably has been hired for the duration of the operation, and thus would be best to tow it to Halifax.
SMIT Nicobar was en route to Mexico when it was called in, so would likely be the first to be relieved of duties if it has contractual obligations elsewhere.

Sovereign (the former Union Sovereign), also a SMIT / Boskalis tug was due to arrive on scene today. It would be bringing fresh supplies as well as more firefighting capability. It is a slightly more powerful tug than SMIT Nicobar, with 178 tonne bollard pull versus 120 tonnes.

Atlantic Enterprise set out from Newark on January 7, but encountered bad weather. It did receive some damage too, so put back to Halifax, the nearest safe port where the damage could be repaired. It is sailing from Halifax at 1800 hrs this evening. Its exact role is certainly a question. It may have been carrying more fire foam, and it does have firefighting capability, though much less than the other tugs.

>>Update Atlantic Enterprise sailed from Halifax this evening giving its desintaiton as Newark, NJ.

Horizon Star another Canadian supply tug has also been dispatched to the scene. It sailed from Halifax early this morning. Also a very large vessel it is equipped with numerous resources, including a helicopter deck. Although well out of any helo rage now, that might change depending on weather and direction of the tow.
It also has survivor accommodation and would have stocked up in food, etc., Since Yantian Express's crew has been fed and watered for nearly two weeks on SMIT Nicobar, grub must be running low

The Tow
In most salvage contracts the destination port is designated. Halifax is the logical one, however weather and the safety of the ship is also a factor, so the actual destination of the tow will not be known for certain for a while.


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