Tuesday, August 21, 2012 -
10:09:00 PM -
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August 22: MSC Flaminia and two tugs are proceeding towards UK waters at a rather slow speed, last known position at 20.8.12 16:30 UTC was 48.23N 015.06W, see the map. Tug Carlo Magno seems to be sent on some errand again, steaming towards Falmouth and entering English Channel in the morning August 22. The rest is already known thanks to press-releases and media news – MSC Flaminia is granted shelter in German waters after undergoing preliminary survey in UK waters by a joint team of British, Dutch and French experts. Some media said there are 37 containers on board with hazardous materials, some said there are about 150 containers with flammable goods, official press-releases don’t elaborate on that point. But official press-releases are very interesting without the details of containers, saying stunning things if one is curious enough to appreciate it.
Latest MSC Flaminia news from NSB Niederelbe website:
Buxtehude, August 21 2012
MSC FLAMINIA will be towed to sheltered anchorage in the North Sea
Under the coordination of the German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies, MSC FLAMINIA will be towed to sheltered anchorage in German waters. Subsequently, the vessel will be transferred to a port. While anchoring, experts (firefighters, chemists and engineers) will determine which hazards might emanate from the vessel and its cargo. Only afterwards a decision to which port the vessel will be towed, can be made.
A first observation of vessel and cargo will be conducted by British, Dutch and French experts on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency once MSC FLAMINIA approaches the vicinity of the English Channel on the coming weekend.
“We are glad that after the assignment to the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies, the salvage of our MSC FLAMINIA is finally proceeding. To us this indicates that our company’s philosophy is right and the German flag pays off”, Helmut Ponath, CEO of Reederei NSB, said on a joint press conference in Bremerhaven.
MSC FLAMINIA and its accompanying group of tugs are currently located approximately 350 nautical miles off the entrance to the English Channel. MSC FLAMINIA is expected to reach a so-called sheltered area in German territorial waters in the week after the next. The German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies estimates that the complete salvage operation will take up to two months.
MCA UK press-release
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
UK AND FRANCE SEND TEAM TO INSPECT STRICKEN SHIP
The United Kingdom Secretary of States representative for Maritime and Salvage Intervention (SOSREP) Hugh Shaw and the French Maritime authorities have decided to send a team of experts to inspect the MSC Flaminia.
To give these experts access to the ship it will be brought to a position 30 miles from the UK. This should enable the inspection team to board the vessel on Friday (subject to circumstances and weather conditions) to carry out a detailed inspection.
The team will include two internationally recognised experts specialising in marine salvage and fire fighting and a specialist fire fighting expert from the Prefecture Maritime.
The outcome of the inspection will be made available to all coastal States currently involved with the incident and will enable them to determine if there are any further requirements before the ship transits the English Channel en-route to German Territorial waters.
Hugh Shaw, SOSREP said:
Much has been done to stabilize the ship since the accident last month. The inspection team will be able to board the ship and carry out an expert analysis and evaluation. Their report will be passed to all the coastal States along the intended route to Germany and will assist with their decision making and approval processes.
NSB said that their company’s philosophy is right and the German flag pays off. It means that be MSC Flaminia under any other flag except Germany or other EU States, she’d have no chance of refuge in EU waters. If we’re to believe MSC, NSB and the authorities, there is nothing unusual and dangerous on board of MSC Flaminia, and all they were worried about was the general condition of the vessel. If that’s the case, then, any vessel under any flag except EU, suffering serious casualty, has no chance of EU refuge, and is to be either towed elsewhere, or sank in the Atlantic, to keep the planet, namely EU, clean and green.
MCA said in their turn, that “Much has been done to stabilize the ship since the accident last month”. Meaning that the best way to stabilize a distressed vessel near EU waters, is to tow her around in the Atlantic for at least a month.
What does it all mean actually, is beyond any reasonable doubt. There is some cargo on board of MSC Flaminia, of which EU authorities are still afraid, even though more than a month passed after the fire took place.
Full story with chronology, photos and maps at http://www.odin.tc/2012/mscflaminiaen.asp