Salvage works on sunken derelict vessel progresses

SALVAGE works to the sunken derelict vessel MV Southern Phoenix is expected to be completed by end of January, 2019.

This was the word from Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji acting chief executive officer Captain Philip Hill.

As of now, salvage works are progressing with the process of removing general cargo on-board the vessel is underway.

Captain Hill told Fiji Times Online that they were co-ordinating salvaging works with Fiji Ports Corporation Ltd (FPCL) and the owners of the vessel Cruz Holdings Ltd.

According to Captain Hill, they were now removing cargo inside the sunken vessel, which include general cargo, building materials and vehicles.

“This is the second week of operation where we have removed all the cargo that was on deck and that has spilled onto the seabed,” he told this newspaper.

“They have opened the hatch now they are removing the cargo that’s inside the ship. Most of the dangerous goods we have removed when it sunk.”

Pacific Towing PNG Ltd – and Australian company based in Papua New Guinea are carrying out the works at the Suva Harbour with their specialised equipment and personnel.

The MV Southern Phoenix lies on an angle approximately 70 degrees on its port side in about 11 metres of water approximately 140m south of the Southern end of the Kings Wharf in Suva.

The first phase was completed earlier involving the removal of the oil from the vessel.

MV Southern Phoenix sunk at the Suva Harbour in May last year, which involved a lengthy process of assessments to conduct salvaging works pegged to cost more than $1.5 million to be paid by the owner’s insurance company.

“We had 170 tonnes of heavy fuel oil on board that was successfully contained and removed. The second phase is where we have to remove the wreck and the cargo,” Captain Hill said.

“So far with the progress, initially it was scheduled for 75 days about 3 months, the way its progressing now they are looking at end of January next year.”

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