SALVAGE: MSC Flaminia to find shelter in the North Sea

The fire ravaged MSC Flaminia is to be towed to a sheltered anchorage in the North Sea, its owners confirmed Tuesday.

Reederei NSB said the ship will be towed to German waters prior to being transferred to an as yet unnamed port.

An initial inspection of the 6,732-teu MSC Flaminia (built 2001) will be carried out by British, Dutch and French experts on behalf of the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

The ship will be brought to a position 30 miles from the UK to enable the inspection team to board the vessel on Friday.

“Much has been done to stabilise the ship since the accident last month,” said Hugh Shaw, the UK Secretary of State’s representative for Maritime and Salvage Intervention (SOSREP).

“The outcome of the inspection will be made available to all coastal States 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,” he added.

Once the ship is anchored off Germany firefighters, chemists and engineers will then go aboard to 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,” Reederei NSB said in a statement.

The containership and its accompanying group of tugs are now located about 350 nautical miles off the entrance to the English Channel.

Reederei NSB said it expects the ship 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.

“We are glad that after the assignment to the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies, the salvage of our MSC Flaminia is finally proceeding,” said Reederei NSB chief executive Helmut Ponath.

“To us this indicates that our company’s philosophy is right and the German flag pays off,” he added.

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