(Taken from http://www.northcoastcourier.co.za)

A bulk tanker being towed to the wrecking yards in India ran aground at Sheffield Beach in the middle of a torrential storm that hit the North Coast on July 25.

The 164-metre ship named the Phoenix is carrying 450 tons of crude oil, raising great concern for the North Coast coastline.

KwaDukuza Fire Chief Adrian Barnes told the Courier that environmental experts would arrive from Cape Town first thing on Wednesday to discuss a strategy for pumping the oil off the ship.

The Phoenix encountered difficulties about two weeks ago. She had been undergoing repairs just off the coast.

On Monday July 25 when the cold front hit, the ship started taking on water in the rough seas and high winds.

Barnes said the crew had dropped the vessel’s anchor and were using her winches to hold steady in the strong currents.

But by Monday evening a tugboat was at her side struggling to connect a towing cable to the ship, as she drifted closer and closer to the shoreline.

Sheffield Beach residents Ian and Denise Campbell said they had been following the rescue saga for most of the night.

“They were really struggling out there. We had floodlights flashing in our windows for most of the night,” said Ian.

On Tuesday morning, when the tug still did not have the ship on tow, a decision was taken that a helicopter would fly in to drop the tow cable onto the Phoenix.

However, before this could happen, the ship lost its anchor and it ran aground.

KwaDukuza Emergency and Fire Services, Netcare, the Specialised Rescue Unit, SAPS, the South African Air Force, the Transnet National Ports Authority and the NSRI co-ordinated a rescue effort within minutes of the ship reaching the shore.

And here are my photos of all the crowds pouring in to get a look at the mammoth ship, theres also a few pics of the workers getting “picked up” after work, this involved the use of the helicopter.

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About Brendon

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