Tanker Runs Aground in Amazon River
On October 8, on her way to Manaus City for a cargo discharge from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, on her 8th voyage up the Amazon river, MT Seychelles Patriot ran aground on shifting sand and mud banks in the middle of the Amazon River, well within her planned navigational routing and in the presence of two Brazilian pilots on-board, as required by the Brazilian Maritime Authority.
The vessel remains in an uncritical state with respect to its structural integrity as assessed and confirmed by the classification society. No spillages of product or any injury to crew members have been recorded. It is to be noted that the vessel is built to high double hull structural specifications.
On receipt of the grounding alert, the technical managers, the owners (Seychelles Petroleum Company Ltd), the insurance company, classification society and the charterer; Petrobras, were all notified immediately, as well as the Santarem Port Authority who holds jurisdiction in the area, to which within 24 hours the Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority (SMSA), the registry flag state, was informed.
An initial attempt to re-float the vessel under her own steam was undertaken on the same day, however the attempt was unsuccessful. Coordinated by German Tanker Shipping GmbH, the salvage operation was put through its first phase by contacting a salvage specialist company, SMIT of Netherlands, who flew two salvage experts from Netherlands on Sunday the 12th. A salvage plan was developed by Monday morning, approved by the classification society, the Santarem Port Authority and the insurance company.
The salvage experts arrived onboard the Seychelles Patriot on Monday morning. Also present were two representatives from the insurance company and representatives from the Classification society, Germanischer Lloyd, who hold responsibility for safeguarding the structural integrity of the vessel.
The second re-floating exercise was attempted on the 13th October 2014 at 18:00 hrs LT, (01:00 hours Seychelles time) following the arrival of the two tug boats by mid-day, all with the approval of the Brazilian Maritime Authority. Unfortunately, the exercise was later stopped by the on-site team as the two tugs were found to be too small in size, and developed mechanical failures which caused reduced bollard pull.
At this stage an extra tug is being chartered from the neighboring port of Santarem to aid the salvage operation, while the mechanical failures are being repaired on the two tugs previously chartered. Another re-floating attempt is planned for this evening.
All is being done to re-float the vessel with the utmost level of professionalism and care, guaranteeing the safety of the crew, the vessel and the environment.