TSAVLIRIS SALVAGE GROUP - News & Announcements

Bulk Carrier "BONGA" - 2002 Jan 01

The 30 years old Bulk Carrier 'BONGA' of 32500 tonnes dead weight, ran aground on the 1st of January 2002 at 19:37 hours at Pachia Island / Nisyros at GPS position Latitude 36-34,257 N, Longitude 027 - 04.069 E. During the incident the  Bulk Carrier 'BONGA' was on a passage from Novorrosisk to Inskederun, partly laden with 17978 mt of scrap iron. The vessel was listing to port and heading 064 degrees, almost parallel to the Pachia. On the same day at about 23:00 hours, the S/T "MEGAS ALEXANDROS" sailed from her permanent station at Piraeus to casualty's location where she arrived on the following morning.


Salvage Master Captain G. Polychroniou and diver Mr. Nizamis arrived and boarded on the casualty at 11:00 hours on the 3rd January 2002. Upon completion an underwater inspection reported that the casualty is grounded forward of frame No. 128 (No. 3 cargo hold) with a lot of cracks and damages at the forward D.B. tanks. Furthermore, the port side of the casualty is touching heavily on a sandy seabed. A refloating attempt was made by S/T "MEGAS ALEXANDROS" and ships engine without any success.


Pumps were secured for dewatering into the duct tunnel that was found flooded and deballasting of the flooded ballast tanks commenced by using the ships pumps. On the following morning at about 11:30 hours weather deteriorated to WNW wind force 7. Tug was rolling, pitching and hitting heavily. As a result of the above weather conditions tug cast off and proceeded to Kos for shelter.


Calculations were prepared by the Naval Architect and was found that the grounding reaction of the casualty is approximately 2.500 tons. According to the grounding reaction to refloat the casualty, all intact water ballast tanks, which are filled with ballast water, should be deballasted. The damaged (mainly forward located) tanks and spaces will be pressurized by air in an effort to de-ballast same and to retrieve as much as possible buoyancy out of these spaces, thence we tried to swing the stern of the casualty to deeper water, in an effort to swing the casualty approx. 90 degrees clockwise from her present condition.


Weather improved on the 12th of January 2002 and on the same day pressurizing and deballasting of tanks commenced. Unfortunately buoyancy by pressurising the tanks did not retrieve and the cargo vessel "EVIA" was contracted for lightering.


The M/V "EVIA" arrived on 20th of January 2002 but due to bad weather lightering operation commenced on the 21st of January 2002. The operation was interrupted many times due to bad weather. Since the 24th of January weather stabilized and operation continued with difficulties due to quantity of cargo (small pieces of scrap iron mixed with soil). During the lightering operation many refloating attempts were performed without success. Of course ships bow was swinging port to starboard, the list amended almost to zero which means that the starboard side of the vessel had slipped from the rocks. Part of the cargo reloaded at the after holds and some of the after tanks were ballasted to trim the vessel by stern.


On the morning of the 13th of February approximately 2500 tons had been lightered and reloaded. At 14:00 hours a new refloating attempt commenced and at 23:00 hours casualty's position changed and became vertical to the island. On the following day 14th of February 2002 at 14:10 hours, after a refloating odyssey of 45 days, the  Bulk Carrier 'BONGA' was finally and successfully refloated. At 16:00 hours the casualty was towed by stern to Kefalos at Kos for reloading the cargo. Reloading operation was completed on the 19th of February at 13:00 hours.