Fire Leaves Chemical Tanker Adrift
On Monday afternoon, the chemical tanker Cape Bon suffered a fire in an electrical pane as she was transiting the English Channel. The loss of the panel knocked out her ship’s service power and left her unable to maneuver.
The French authorities were notified, and they dispatched the intervention tug Abeille Languedoc, which departed Boulogne-sur-Mer and arrived on scene at 1750 hours. In addition, a French Navy helicopter carried an evaluation and intervention team out to the Bon, and after an inspection, they determined that she should be towed to an anchorage.
French maritime authorities asked the Bon’s owner to make commercial arrangements for a tug. She was adrift in a shipping lane and carrying a cargo of 30,000 tons of flammable liquid, a potentially dangerous situation, and officials wanted a swift resolution.
The Bon's owners contracted with Multraship for the services of the towing vessel Multratug 20, which arrived on scene at 1000 hours on Tuesday. A helicopter lifted personnel from the Abeille Languedoc and the Coastal Maritime Safety Vessel (VCSM) Scheldt to supervise the towing operation. By 1500 hours, the Bon was under tow, escorted by the Languedoc and the Scheldt. As of 0300 local time Wednesday, she was at anchor off Calais. Authorities said that after an evaluation she will be taken into the port of Dunkirk for repairs.
The 2003-built Bon has no record of port state control detentions within the past ten years. A recent inspection at the port of Hamburg found two fire safety deficiencies, one for fire dampers and one for means of escape, but she was not detained.