Newcastle container ships run aground: photos
Posted by lahar9jhadav on June 8, 2007
Several coal ships are now in trouble off Newcastle, on the New South Wales central coast, because of bad weather.
The bulk carrier, the Pasha Bulker, ran aground on Nobby’s Beach this morning, with the 21 crew now winched to safety by helicopter.
The Newcastle Port Corporation says there is a possibility of the ship breaking up.
Two other coal ships, the Sea Confidence and Beetus, have also sent out distress calls.
Newcastle harbourmaster Tim Turner says all of the ships were last night told bad weather was on the way, but some ignored the warning.
“We started off this morning with 54 ships in the anchorage,” he said.
“Through the night they were picking their anchors up to move out into deep water to get away from the coast and nearly all of the ships have successfully done that and yes, they’ve known it’s coming, but sometimes ships have problems.”
New South Wales Ports Minister Joe Tripodi says the ship Sea Confidence is having problems about 1.3 kilometres off Newcastle.
He says the winds are blowing it towards the coastline.
“Obviously their concern is that they’ll be washed up,” he said.
“Now they’ve put their engines in full thrust and are trying to go away from the coastline and the effect of that is that it’s pretty much staying in the same place.”
Mr Tripodi says conditions off Newcastle are terrible and worsening.
He says Newcastle port authorities say one buoy measured a wave at more than 17 metres.
The Minister says he is heading to Newcastle to assess what more can be done to assist the emergency operation.
One by one, the 21 Filipino crew of the Pasha Bulker were winched off the bulk carrier by rescue helicopter. The operation was extremely hazardous.
As the helicopter hovered over the vessel, it was buffeted by cyclonic winds, heavy rain and huge waves continued to break over the deck.
The 40,000 tonne bulk freighter got into trouble at about 9am AEST, as it was trying to head out to sea.
It stuck fast in the sand about 100 metres from the shoreline at Nobby’s Beach.
Crew members are being taken to a command post, where their condition is being assessed by medical teams, before they are interviewed by immigration officials.
Greens MP Ian Cohen says if the ship breaks up it will be an environmental catastrophe for Newcastle.
“We can see a massive disaster here – with the significant tonnage of diesel fuel and fuel oil on board we could see the entire coastline in that region blanketed with black, tarry slick that will have a huge impact on the environment in the area,” he said.
RENA CONTAINER SHIP RUNS AGROUND IN NEW ZEALAND
Oil spill now New Zealand’s worst maritime pollution disaster
AAP October 11, 2011
”I’d like to acknowledge this event has come to a stage where it is New Zealand’s most significant maritime environmental disaster,” Smith said at a briefing on the crippled vessel Rena, which hit a reef last Wednesday.
The Rena issued a mayday today after sustaining damage in heavy seas and spilling “significant” new amounts of oil, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said.
Nearby ships, including six navy vessels, scrambled to evacuate a 36-man salvage crew from the crippled Rena, which shifted position on the reef it hit last Wednesday after being pounded by 5m swells overnight.
Maritime New Zealand said the vessel had spewed an additional 130 to 350 tonnes of oil into the Bay of Plenty, far more than the initial spill of 20 tonnes, which has already fouled beaches in the environmentally sensitive area.
“The ship has sustained some damage from current movements and there is a significant amount of oil leaking from the vessel,” it said.
“This is estimated at 130-350 tonnes from the overflight at first light today.”
Officials have warned New Zealand faces its worst maritime pollution disaster in decades if the Rena breaks up on the reef, releasing all 1700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil aboard into the bay.
MNZ director Catherine Taylor said the Liberian-flagged vessel appeared stable but added “the weather forecast is not good”.
“Things are changing all the time, the weather has not worked for us, it’s worked against us and we’re being precautionary and ensuring we keep people safe first,” she said.
MNZ said the ship sustained further damage to the front of its hull in the rough seas and additional flooding in its forward holds, but it said this might help to stabilise the ship, which had been moving around on the reef.
“They’re not thinking that the vessel is going to break up at this time. They’re aware it’s resettling into a new equilibrium,” MNZ salvage unit manage Bruce Anderson told reporters.
Covers have been installed on the ship’s fuel tanks in an attempt to limit leakage if the Rena ends up on the sea bed.
The drama at the Rena accident site, 22km offshore, came as clean-up efforts began on Bay of Plenty beaches, where blobs of tar-like oil that locals said resembled “black jellyfish” began to wash up yesterday.
Taylor said more oil was expected to leak from the vessel and further shoreline pollution was inevitable.
The spill has already killed a number of sea birds, with seven Little Blue penguins and two shags receiving treatment at wildlife rescue centres after being found covered in oil.
Locals, who have criticised the speed of the oil spill response, said they had seen large numbers of dead birds and fish on beaches.
Authorities have warned residents to stay away from the viscous sludge, describing it as toxic, but many have ignored the advice and formed their own clean-up teams, donning rubber gloves and shovelling the oil into plastic bags.
Some 250 people, including specialists from Australia, Britain, Holland and Singapore, have joined the oil slick response team, with 300 defence personnel on standby and expected to help with the shoreline clean-up.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce said yesterday that oil could wash up on the coast for weeks.
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