After the Eemslift Hendrika’s course changed and the risk of grounding became imminent, the salvage operation was brought forward and carried out Wednesday night 7 April. The Smit Salvage team was lifted on board at 9.30 pm and managed to secure towing lines to two tugs. The tow is now underway to Ålesund.
After it became clear the vessel might ground, government action was declared last night, which meant oil spill response resources were mobilized to prevent pollution and a new attempt was made to secure tow lines.
During the evening, there was a successful operation to put crew from the Dutch salvage company Smit Salvage, plus a rescuer from the helicopter on board the Eemslift Hendrika. They managed to connect the vessel to two tugboats, the Normand Drott and the BB Ocean, both at the bow and stern of the ship. Both tugboats were hired by Smit Salvage.
The Eemslift Hendrika was twelve kilometres from the Norwegian coast when the towage connection was made on Wednesday evening.
The Norwegian Coast Guard says the tow is still underway to Ålesund, and maintains a speed of around three knots. There have been no special challenges during the night, but the level of preparedness is said to be maintained until the ship is safely at the quay.
There is now six m/s wind and three to five-metre waves. The salvage crew is on board the Eemslift Hendrika, and the tow is followed by Coast Guard vessel Bergen.
On Monday 5 April, the Eemslift Hendrika got into difficulties due to shifting cargo, which caused it to list in a stormy sea with waves several metres high. The crew was taken off board by helicopter. Since then, the ship has been adrift in extremely bad weather and lost a workboat that was on deck. Losing the workboat improved the situation, however, as it increased the vessel’s stability thereby reducing the risk of capsizing.
Smit Salvage was called in to salvage the vessel, but was unable to get their team on board during the day on Wednesday 7 April due to the bad weather. This was to be attempted on Thursday, but the Norwegian Government stepped in to bring the attempt forward after the it became clear the vessel could ground within eight hours.
The ship, owned by the shipping company Amasus Shipping in Delfzijl, the Netherlands was en route from Bremerhaven in Germany to the Norwegian port of Kolvereid. The Eemslift Hendrika was built in 2015, is 112 metres long and 17 metres wide.
Pictures by the Norwegian Coast Guard.