SHIPPING

Sunken Vessel Finally Rests Outside Suva Port

The Fiji Ports Corporation limited confirmed that approximately $1m was spent to mobilise the salvaging equipment by PACTOW at the vessel owner Lami-based Cruz Holdings Limited’s expense.
29 May 2019 14:42
Sunken Vessel Finally Rests Outside Suva Port
MV Southern Phoenix being submerged outside the Suva harbour on May 25, 2019. Photo: Jonathan Smith/Dive Centre Fiji

The sunken MV Southern Phoenix now rests undersea, 6.5 nautical miles in the open sea outside the Suva port boundary, in water depth of 1000 metres following its removal from Suva harbour last Saturday.

The container vessel had sunk at the south end of the Kings Wharf on May 6, 2017 before it was towed away from its initial salvage area with the assistance of Papua New Guinea based-salvage company Pacific Towing Company Limited (PACTOW).

The Fiji Ports Corporation limited confirmed that approximately $1m was spent to mobilise the salvaging equipment by PACTOW at the vessel owner Lami-based Cruz Holdings Limited’s expense.

The sunken vessel was refloated on May 12, 2019.

Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji Acting chief executive officer -Captain Philip Hill had said that the ship further stabilized at the sunken position-preparing to move the hull to the standby mooring for the final tow out to the scuttling position.

The scuttling process does not in any way pose any threat to other vessels in terms of navigation.

FPCL chief executive officer Vajira Piyasena acknowledged owner of the sunken vessel Cruz Holdings Limited for their commitment since they were issued with the Removal Order on May 8, 2017 under the Seaport Management Regulations Act.

“After a long wait and a major salvage exercise, the sunken vessel MV Southern Phoenix was removed from the Suva harbour on the morning of Saturday May 25,” Mr Piyasena said.

“It took Fiji Ports Corporation Limited (FPCL) 18 months of finalising procedures to see the successful removal of the wreck by Papua New Guinea based-salvage company Pacific Towing Company Limited two years later,” he said

“PACTOW won the tender process from three shortlisted overseas companies and they began the wreck removal operation in November 2018.

The 88 meter long, 4285 dwt cargo vessel Southern Phoenix was loading containers when it suffered water ingress in 2017.

Crew members had attempted to stop the inflow, but the flooding could not be contained. The cargo vessel began to list to its port side as it continued to fill with water.

Eventually the crew evacuated the vessel; the mooring lines were cut loose and a tug pulled it away from the berth.

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