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Aussie Salvage Experts Arrive

Aussie Salvage Experts Arrive
Cruise (Holding) Limited’s cargo ship Southern Phoenix sank about 30 meters away from Kings Wharf early Saturday morning. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
May 10
11:14 2017

Salvage experts from Australia engaged by ship owners arrived on Monday.

They visited the area around the sunken ship and yesterday to make their assessment of the situation.

Meanwhile the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) used absorbent pads in a small area around the submerged cargo ship, Southern Phoenix, to remove minor oil spillage which had been contained by the deployed oil spill booms.

According to the MSAF chief executive officer (CEO) Mr John Tunidau the absorbent pads “are part of the phase two of MSAF’s oil spill containment process.”

He said MSAF would continue to closely monitor the situation and ensured the safety of the marine environment.

Absorbent pads he said absorbed all petroleum based fluids including solvents, solvent based paints, vegetable oils and many other non-soluble chemicals and repelled water based liquids.

He said when the Fiji Ports Corporation Limited (FPCL) received a distress call from the captain of Southern Phoenix at approximately 1.30 am on 6th May, 2017; they then requested MSAF for the deployment of the oil spill equipment.

“Our emergency response teams, with the help of our fellow authorities, deployed specialised oil spill booms to ensure that damage to the marine environment was minimised,” Mr Tunidau.

He said booming of the ship started at daylight around 8.30am and finished booming at around 12.45 pm. MSAF, Pacific Energy, Total and GSS personnel carried out the booming of the ship to contain any possible oil spill.

After oil spill booms were deployed around the wreck, he said divers were deployed to plug the breathers for oil tanks in order to prevent further leakages.

Mr Tunidau said two Fiji Coastal Navigational warning were also issued by MSAF to notify ship operators/owners including mariners of a temporary exclusion zone around the areas surrounding the sunken ship.

FPCL Officers, Fiji Police patrol boat continue to monitor situation at the princess wharf around the sunken ship.

Investigations are underway to determine the cause of the accident.

Meanwhile MSAF has advised stakeholders and customers on their office hours: Mondays to Thursdays,  8am – 4.30pm and Fridays,  8am – 4pm.

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