Bergers of Boskalis have towed the Dutch freighter off the coast of Norway from the high seas. The ship, the Eemslift Hendrika, got into trouble on Monday due to bad weather and is now close to the coast.
“ Nothing has happened and the crew has remained healthy,” says Boskalis-director Peter Berdowski in the CCEit Radio 1 News. “We hope to enter a fjord today, it is a bit quieter. We will then stabilize the ship, that it will stand up again nicely. Then mooring and then the job is done again.”
Due to the rough conditions, the salvage was a dangerous operation, says Berdowski. The ship made side by the meter-high waves. “Especially when the crew had to be evacuated, you saw waves of up to seven meters high. The ship was sometimes almost upright. Yesterday it was a bit, but there were still waves of about four to five meters.”
The operation started yesterday when the sea became a little quieter:
Last night we managed to get four employees of the salvage company aboard the Eemslift Hendrika. That was quite a challenge, says Berdowski. Although, according to him, his people are a bit used to. “You noticed to the Norwegian authorities that they were a lot more hesitant than we were. This led to the fact that yesterday we had a very long discussion, to convince the Norwegians that our people really could board.”
Unlike Boskalis models, local authorities also thought that the ship would not float directly towards the coast. “We saw that the ship would indeed walk on the cliffs around midnight. When the ship arrived seven miles from the coast, the Norwegians saw for themselves that it was really coercible.”
The conversations took so much time that the operation could not begin until it was almost dark. “That was difficult, we would have preferred to do it in daylight,” says Berdowski. “You have to imagine: these people have to go in the dark over such a slippery deck that makes 40-degree slopes. From the sleeper, they have to pick up the wire and line the freighter. That in itself is already a challenging operation.”
The Eemslift Hendrika is owned by Amasus Shipping in Delfzijl. The freighter transports ships from the Mediterranean to northern Europe. When the Eemslift Hendrika ended up in bad weather, the cargo consisted of seven sailing yachts and fishing vessels. One of the fishing vessels slipped off board.
“ He will still float somewhere, or may have already perished,” Berdowski thinks. “Ships like the Eemslift have a satellite tracking system, which can be tracked neatly. But a boat that says on it doesnt have it. So it is, especially in that weather, very difficult to find out what the situation is.”