Re: Probe into Sichem Osprey grounding

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Posted by on March 01, 2010 at 18:28:38:

In Reply to: Probe into Sichem Osprey grounding posted by on March 01, 2010 at 17:25:39:

THE French judicial authorities have opened a preliminary investigation into the circumstances of the grounding of an Eitzen product tanker on the remote French Pacific island of Clipperton.

The investigation is on the suspected endangering of human life and offences against the French merchant navy code by the operators of the 2009-built Sichem Osprey, which ran aground on the uninhabited atoll at night on February 10 in as yet unexplained circumstances.

There has been no pollution or damage other than that to the hull of the vessel, which, according to French reports, appeared to have been moving at high speed, given that it had grounded along a 60m length of its hull.

Efforts to refloat the vessel have so far proved unsuccessful but a fresh attempt is due to get under way tomorrow.

Salvors, who are working under the supervision of Svitzer Salvage, are planning to lighten the tanker of some of its cargo of xylene, tallow and vegetable oil.

The vesselís manager, Glasgow-based V.Ships Shipmanagement, said that a lighterage tanker was due at the scene tomorrow morning to help offload some 6,000 tonnes of soyabean oil in the hope that this would enable the vessel to be refloated.

The double-hulled, 25,431 dwt Sichem Osprey, which is under Maltese flag and has a crew of 19, was heading from Panama to South Korea when the grounding occurred.

The French Polynesian authorities have ordered Eitzen to put an end to the risk posed by the vessel and its cargo by March 15.

They said that several tugs had been at the scene of the grounding since February 13 but, to date, had only succeeded in moving the vessel 15m.

A French navy frigate, the Courbet, arrived at the scene on Friday morning with an evaluation team which was able to go board the Sichem Osprey.

A French maritime gendarme who was also aboard Courbet has begun interrogating the vesselís master and crew.

The tiny Clipperton atoll measures just nine km sq and is situated 1,280 km off the coast of Mexico.

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