Extensive damage to bottom of Makassar Highway

Divers found extensive damage to the bottom of vehicles carrier Makassar Highway (IMO 9235426), which ran aground during the morning of July 23rd in the Tjusts archipelago, Västervik municipality, northern Sweden while en route from Cuxhaven to Södertälje with 1,325 cars on board.

There was a hole in the forepeak with water ingress in some ballast tanks, a hole in the bow thruster, water ingress in a couple of tanks, severe damage to the steel of the bulbous bow and alongside the ship’s port side.

A large part of the bottom, resting on the rocks, could not yet be inspected. The dive surveys continued on July 25th.

Because of the damage the salvage work might take quite some time, the authorities said. So far there has been a small leakage of hydraulic oil. The vessel had on board 333,000 litres of fuel oil, 38,000 litres of lubricant oil and 34,000 litres of diesel.

The Swedish authorities, supported by the Sea Rescue Company in Loftahammar and police aircraft, continued to monitor the area for any further oil spillage.

Two salvage companies were expected to arrive at the site to conduct further investigations that will lead to a salvage plan. The ship will have to be lightered prior to refloating. Weather continued to be favourable.

The vessel’s chief mate was arrested under suspicion of drinking at the helm. The ship reportedly maintained a steady speed of 14 knots and did not change its wrong course for hours, going straight aground at a depth of three to four metres.

2001-built, Panama-flagged, 17,735 gt Makassar Highway is owned by Makassar Highway Shipping SA care of ‘K’ Line European Sea Highway Services GmbH (KESS) of Bremen, Germany. ISM manager is Stargate Shipmanagement GmbH of the same city. It is entered with UK P&I Club (Area Group London J1) on behalf of Makassar Highway Shipping SA.