Thursday, June 09, 2005
The 25-man crew of a ship, slowly sinking off the coast of East London on Tuesday night, were being transferred to a South African navy ship as a safety measure, port authorities said. By 19:00 on Tuesday, weather conditions and water flooding the ship's engine room led to the Kiperousa crew's decision to seek help from the national port authority, said spokesperson Terry Taylor. "At first, they said there was no problem," he said. "But the weather is changing and we expect it to get rough and windy." Why the 180m ship, carrying a consignment of logs from West Africa, was sinking was unclear and rumours that it had collided with an object were a possibility. Taylor said the crew would soon board the SAS Protea, scheduled to dock in the morning.
SAS ProteaAfter this, the Protea would help tow the Kiperousa out to sea where the water could be pumped out of the engine room. The Kiperousa was anchored two nautical miles (about 3.5km) offshore in the Bira area close to Hamburg. Taylor said a helicopter was on standby in case the situation changed and the crew's lives be in any immediate danger. Bad weather was hampering efforts on Wednesday to salvage the stricken bulk carrier, the Kiperousa, which ran aground off the Eastern Cape coast. The Malta-registered log-carrier was on its way from Ghana to Durban when it ran into trouble shortly after 11:00 on Tuesday. She was still aground at the stern on Wednesday morning, National Ports authority spokesperson Terry Taylor told Sapa. The vessel sent out a mayday alert after she apparently struck an object about two nautical miles south of Hamburg. Taylor said: "It looks like the stern is aground, the bow is still floating." It was not clear what the ship was lodged on but it could be a rock, Taylor said. A rescue worker keeps an eye on the stricken Kiperousa that ran aground off the Eastern Cape coast.