Stranded Cargo Ship Refloated in Bahamas

File photo

By MarEx 2015-12-21 19:54:58

The 850 dwt cargo landing craft Emerald Express has been refloated after three months ashore on Crooked Island, Bahamas. She is a lucky survivor of Hurricane Joaquin, the same storm that downed the American ro/ro El Faro on October 1.

The Emerald Express was about 25 nm from the El Faro at the time of the sinking, and crew told Bahamian media sources that they had been able to hear VHF calls from the stricken vessel before she went under.

The hurricane's 135 mph winds pushed the Express inland on a storm surge so deep that she passed over reefs and mangroves without trouble. 

A crew member told local media that “the winds just threw us where it wanted to . . . we floated like two days at sea until we got into shallow water all the way to the other side of Lovely Bay where the boat beached.”

The storm left her at the edge of Horse Pond, Crooked Island, in a mangrove swamp.

Four of her eight crew remained aboard after the stranding to keep an eye on her, and operator G-G Marine dispatched officials and equipment to help with the salvage. Bahamas Electricity Corporation also contributed to the effort by widening six miles of roadway to haul the stranded vessel overland.

The Express was lifted onto heavy inflatable rubber tubes and rolled over the intervening distance to an estuary, with towing provided by a large Caterpillar bulldozer. She was then refloated and carefully navigated the remaining 15 miles back out to sea. 

Video of the salvage effort can be seen here.