Monday, February 21, 2005

Attempt To Raise The Intrepid B

A salvage operation has started to raise a tugboat which sank in a west Wales harbour. The Intrepid B sank on Monday morning at Fishguard Harbour and began to seep some of its 45,000 litres of diesel on board into the water. A salvage firm from the Netherlands began the operation to recover the tug on Wednesday. The clean-up operation after the boat is eventually raised could take up to a week. The boat started taking in water just after 0800GMT on Monday and sank to the harbour bed as the tide came in. Much of the diesel aboard the tug was then transferred to a second vessel, with booms laid to stop pollution spreading. Divers surveyed the boat on Tuesday, which is said to be stuck fast on the seabed. The port's ferry services will not be affected by the incident, and there is a minimal risk of pollution from the boat's diesel, which evaporates quickly in water. It had been hoped the combination of a low tide and empty fuel tanks would lift the stricken boat so that engineers could assess the damage. But Fishguard harbourmaster David Dean said problems with the tide meant it would be a bigger operation than originally thought. He added: "The problem is that this vessel is not uncovered by the tide at low water and other measures will have to be taken to raise the vessel. "But before any pumping out of the vessel can take place, pollution containment measures have to be taken." Pembrokeshire council said pollution caused by the boat's sinking had been minimal. Len Mullins of Pembrokeshire County Council, added: "[The council] has been monitoring the situation very closely. "To date, fortunately, the amount of pollution has been minimal - in fact it's been so small that we've been unable to employ counter-pollution measures."
An investigation is due to take place to find out why the Intrepid B sank.
Attempts are due to be made to refloat the tug: Intrepid B

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