[PHOTOS] Abandoned Heavy-Lift Vessel Successfully Towed to Port
The four-day drama of the Dutch heavy-lift vessel abandoned and drifting towards the Norwegian coast came to a quiet end as the vessel was brought safely to port this afternoon. An emergency effort late last night secured a towline after airlifting the salvage crew to the deck of the listing vessel.
The tow began shortly before midnight on April 7 and the vessel was alongside in the port on Flatholmen in Alesund, Norway by 5:00 p.m. local time on April 8 with the assistance of the Smit-operated tugboats. One tugboat was operating the towline on the bow and the second tug was attached to the stern to assist in maintaining the course. The Norwegian Coastal Authority and Norwegian Coast Guard vessels escorted the Eemslift Hendrika to port during the tow.
They reported that the tow proceeded without incident at approximately 3 knots. Weather conditions in the area also improved as the storm subsided. The Norwegian Coastal Authority reported the seas were running 3 to 5 meters (they had been up to 15 meters) and winds dropped to approximately 14 mph.
The incident began on Monday, April 5 when the cargo aboard the Eemslift Hendrika shifted during a winter storm off the west coast of Norway. Fearing that the vessel was in danger of capsizing the captain called for assistance and the Norwegian authorities airlifted the majority o the crew to shore. Later in the day, the captain and the remaining three crew members abandon ship after it lost power and the storm continued to create the risk that the vessel would capsize. Some crew jumped overboard and were pulled from the sea while the others were airlifted from the deck.
The Eemslift Hendrika lost overboard at least one of the vessels it was transporting in the storm. The Norwegian authorities later located the vessel a few nautical miles away.
Safety and flag state authorities are expected to board the vessel to conduct an inspection and begin an investigation into the incident.
(Photo courtesy of the Norwegian Coastal Authority)