Antaois kept 30 miles offshore

South Africa is stopping stricken bulk carrier Antaois from coming to within 30 miles of the South African coast until all fuel oil has been removed from the ship. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is continuing to monitor the salvage of the bulk carrier in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Cape Town. It said last week that environmental safety measures mandated the offshore removal of the bunker fuel aboard the vessel before it can approach the coast. About 170 mt of bunker fuel are estimated to be on board the 27,700dwt bulker, which is carrying a load of soya flour and corn.

SAMSA Executive Head for the Centre for Shipping, Captain Nigel Campbell, said that “until such time as the fuel transfer operation has been completed, vessel surveys undertaken and a comprehensive salvage plan approved, SAMSA has ordered that casualty remain at least 30 miles off the South African coast”.

Antaois suffered a fire and engine room flooding just over a week ago while en route to the Middle East from Argentina. The 19 crew members abandoned ship and were brought to Cape Town by another merchant ship. The bulk carrier was towed by salvage tug Smit Amandla from 870m away to its current position off the South African coast.