TUGS SAVE CRIPPLED CONTAINER SHIP OFF LAVERNOCK POINT

A container ship suffering from engine trouble had to anchor of Lavernock Point in heavy seas and high winds. Two Cardiff tugs have now gone to the rescue

A 5,278 ton container ship F.Arslan V  broke down off Lavernock Point tonight and two tugs were called out to try to bring her back into port.

The ship had sailed from Cardiff bound for Avonmouth earlier today but had lost engine power shortly after leaving Cardiff and had tried to anchor off Lavernock Point in high winds and heavy seas.

One of the tugs has made fast to the stern of the disabled vessel – which is in a very exposed position and close to a reef of underwater rocks

In anchoring, she somehow managed to tangle her two anchors together – making them both useless.

Two local  tugs Trueman and Tradesman  were called in to tow the vessel back to port – but first had the task of attempting to free the fouled anchors .

One photograph appears to suggest that the ship’s anchor has fouled an underwater cable

It then became clear that one of the container ship’s anchors had become  wrapped around the chain of a second anchor – rendering both anchors incapable of holding the ship and presenting an underwater “knot” that could not be undone without the use of divers.

The Bristol Channel pilot on board F.Aslan V and the tug skippers advised the ship’s captain to sacrifice the anchors and cut them free, but valuable time was lost whilst the captain radioed the shipowners.

Off Flatholm the tugs were still struggling to free the container ship’s fouled anchors

By 18:15 the tugs had managed to tow the container ship away from the rocky outcrop near Lavernock and out towards Flatholm Island with her anchors still knotted together beneath her keel.

Eventually it was agreed both anchor chains would have to be cut, released into the sea and abandoned, in order to enable the ship to be towed back into port.

The bow starboard anchor remained fouled despite concerted efforts to free it

The two tugs Tradesman and Trueman worked as a team off Flatholm to try to release the stricken vessel which its understood had fouled both her anchor cables

The ship’s crew eventually cut through both anchor chains and allowed them to run out into the sea – freeing the ship.

It took 15 minutes to cut though each anchor chain …but the problems did not end there.

The wind was against them, the tide was against them and luck was against them as the tugs battled to bring the stricken container vessel under control. A towing hawser parted adding further complications. The ship was being swept inexorably back towards Lavernock Point again

The tugs then had to attempt to turn the ship towards Cardiff against the the tide and the strong north westerly wind.

So much effort was used by the tugs to move the ship that at 17:45 one of the tow lines snapped . There were then problems in getting another line passed from the ship to the tugs – an operation not helped by the non-English-speaking crew.

Using every ounce of power, the tug Tradesman bodily shoves the crippled container ship F.Arslan V sideways back into deeper water

With the tide falling rapidly and the northerly winds pushing the ship down channel back towards the treacherous Lavernock Point and the Wolves Rocks,  Milford Haven Coastguard declared an emergency and alerted local lifeboats .

Fortuitously Barry Dock lifeboat had already launched on exercise and was called into service.

Eventually the stricken ship is moved to Cardiff Roads off Penarth – with the prospect of the tugs motoring all night to keep her in position until the next tide allows her to be brought back into Cardiff Docks.

Eventually the two tugs managed to get the ship into a safer position off Penarth – in the area of channel called Cardiff Roads – but, without any anchors, they were committed to hold her in place all night using their engines.

A third tug –  Irishman – was called in from Newport.

Barry Dock lifeboat – standing by off Penarth tonight

Barry Dock lifeboat remained on standby as night fell …just in case.

UPDATE: F.Arslan V finally docked in Cardiff safely at 04:00 June 7 2017 after being held in position all night off Penarth by tugs.   

Considerable credit must go to the local Bristol Channel pilot who was aboard F.Arslan V and in charge on the bridge of the ship – and to the skippers of the tugboats . They all worked as an effective team pooling their resources and experience to resolve a very difficult problem which, without their skill and determination, could have resulted in the grounding of the vessel .

 

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5 Responses to TUGS SAVE CRIPPLED CONTAINER SHIP OFF LAVERNOCK POINT

  1. whatsoccurin says:

    seemed like a major incident-clearly visible most of the evening, with a lifeboat also in attendance-reassured to see the tugs on sight.!

  2. Old sea dog says:

    Shocking delay by the ship’s master in delaying cutting the anchors, which could well have had a different result had it not been for the (better?) seamanship of the tugboats.

    Such a decision should not require anyone’s permission except the ship’s crew on board.

  3. Joe blow says:

    Northerly winds?

    I think not.

  4. rctmarine says:

    Commendable work by the pilot and the 3 tugs!

    Unfortunately, a not-so-commendable work by another online publication appears here:
    http://mfame.guru/crippled-container-ship-savaged-tugs/comment-page-1/#comment-279

    where they re-published your article and changed the headline with comedic results 🙂

  5. Reynaldo Tordillo says:

    Commendable work by the pilot and the 3 tugs!

    Unfortunately, a not-so-commendable work by another online publication appears here:
    http://mfame.guru/crippled-container-ship-savaged-tugs/comment-page-1/#comment-279

    where they re-published your article and changed the headline with comedic results 🙂

Comments are closed.