Friday, March 16, 2012 -
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Salvage operation started on the site of grounded tanker Gelso M, Sicily, on March 14. The main task for salvors on the first stage of the operation is to pump out some 300 tons of bunker from vessel’s fuel tanks. The pumping will start on March 17 or later, said authorities.
Tanker Gelso M ran aground at Pointe Santa Panagia, in position 37 06N 015 18E, off Siracusa town, Sicily, on Mar 10, 2012, en route from Venice in ballast. Tanker was pushed on rocky coast by strong wind and current, Italian media quoted Master of Gelso M. Shortly after 0900 vessel issued distress signal, master required evacuation of the crew. Only helicopters could rescue the 19 crew, as there was no other way to safely get them to the shore. Rescue helicopters airlifted all the crew and took them on shore. The salvage is subject to the weather, which is stormy and deteriorating. It may be assumed that the crew, in view of coming storm, failed either to change course to keep as far from shore as possible, or to take in ballast to keep vessel stable and steerable. Chemical tanker Gelso M IMO 9367360, dwt 22996, built 2008, flag Italy, manager AUGUSTA DUE SRL.