TSAVLIRIS SALVAGE GROUP - News & Announcements

Cape Size Bulk Carrier “BET PRINCE” – Tsavliris Mega Salvage Operation in China - 2012 Sep 03

On Wednesday 1st August, we dispatched salvage tug "DONG HAI JIU 111" to the assistance of bulk carrier "BET PRINCE" (GT 82,830, DWT 163,554), laden with iron ore, disabled about 100 nautical miles south east of Zhoushan due to technical problems.


"DONG HAI JIU 111" arrived at the casualty's position in the early hours of the 2nd August, but due to adverse weather conditions (typhoon "SAOLA") the towline could not be established until 8am and thence towage commenced towards Zhoushan. Under the continuing severe weather conditions the convoy arrived off Xiazhimen anchorage (Zhoushan) on the 3rd August. Due to the risky circumstances we mobilized salvage tug "DONG HAI JIU 116" to assist with the controlling of the tow prior to proceeding to anchorage.


On the 4th August "BET PRINCE" was brought to the east of Putuoshan Island and anchored by the two tugs. "DONG HAI JIU 116" was released and returned to her station, whilst the "DONG HAI JIU 111" and locally contracted tug 'FENGHE 8006' remained nearby the "BET PRINCE" providing standby services and transferring technicians to try to restore the vessels power.


By Monday 6th August, the threat of another typhoon, "HAIKUI", hindered salvage operations further and the crew's safety became an issue. On Tuesday 7th August, tug "FENGHE 8006" was directed by authorities to shelter, whilst "DONG HAI JIU 111" remained on standby. Preparations began to ensure maximum safety for the passing of forthcoming typhoon "HAIKUI" and Tsavliris salvage master explored the area by helicopter.


Due to the weather, the "BET PRINCE" dragged her anchor, so her second anchor was dropped, but in spite of this, dragging continued – there was a risk of her grounding as she was heading towards the rocky shoreline. "DONG HAI JIU 111" was instructed to attempt an emergency tow line connection; however this was too dangerous, therefore she stayed near the casualty to monitor the situation continuously.


After the typhoon "HAIKUI" passed, the "FENGHE 8006" proceeded to the casualty's site and resumed her standby duties. On the 9th August the "DONG HAI JIU 111" connected the towline to the casualty and electricity was restored on the "BET PRINCE" – two injured crew members of the casualty were transferred ashore for medical attention, while repairs continued on the "BET PRINCE". The typhoon caused significant damage to the casualty's accommodation and deck.


Whilst works continued on the casualty the two salvage tugs also protected the vessel from local traffic as the "BET PRINCE's" condition/location posed/ created a risk of collision with other vessels. The "BET PRINCE's" anchors and anchor chains had become entangled due to the severe weather and a floating crane was brought in to untangle them under the instruction of our salvage master. The casualty was towed from a depth line of 20 metres to deeper water to avoid any further damage. Provisions and marine gas oil were supplied to the casualty, as well as a portable air compressor and a diesel driven generator to provide electricity.


On the Tuesday 21st August there was a threat of two further typhoons, "TEMBIN" and "BOLAVEN". Time was of the essence as the typhoon "BOLAVEN" was headed directly for the casualty's position and approval from authorities to enter the port was being denied. Preparations were made for the "BET PRINCE" to be towed to North anchorage to shelter her from the typhoon, in the event port approval not be granted. The crew's safety and the environment were of paramount importance.


The casualty was finally granted entry to Zhoushan port on the 24th August and was towed by port tugs and pilots to Terminal 5 on the 25th August for shelter due to the incoming typhoons "BOLAVEN" and "TEMBIN". Standby services were provided at berth No. 5 by port tugs, salvage tugs and pilots until the typhoons had passed.


Casualty was safely redelivered to her owners on the Thursday 30th August.