Bibby Line statement on CHESHIRE, Aug 27
Subject: MV Cheshire
Liverpool, August 27, 2017
Bibby Line Limited, owners of the 56,597 dwt bulk carrier MV Cheshire, report a further updated situation of the vessel, which experienced elevated temperatures in cargo holds 4 and 5 on August 12th. The vessel was loaded with a full cargo of fertiliser and was on passage from Norway to Thailand to discharge. The vessel arrived at around 15.00 hours on August 13that a safe position 45 miles south of Gran Canaria, as she was scheduled to stop in Las Palmas to take on bunkers. The authorities were advised of the situation and have been offering great assistance. The cargo manufacturer has also offered assistance and has sent 4 representatives to Las Palmas to advise on cargo cooling. Resolve Marine were appointed to attend the vessel and deal with the cargo problem.
Resolve Marine arrived in Las Palmas on August 14th, but in the meantime, the crew of Cheshire were evacuated and taken ashore for their own safety as wind conditions were so light that the fumes were not being carried away from the ship. A standby tug from SASEMAR stayed with the vessel and an access ladder has been rigged. The vessel had been drifting in a south westerly direction away from any landmass.
The crew are reported to be well and in a good condition and all except the second engineer, who will assist the salvors, have been flown home.
Resolve Marine have been on station alongside the vessel since August 16th but had failed to get on board due to adverse weather conditions, the heat and the fumes being generated from the affected holds. It is now reported that all 5 Holds have cooled down and the process of decomposition is believed to have completed and at present there are no fumes emanating from the vessel.
On August 21st, the salvors managed to get a tow line attached and the Cheshire, according to AIS data, is currently approximately 50 n miles SE of Gran Canaria with Tug Red Sea Fos towing, VB Hispania providing support and SASEMAR vessel Miguel de Cervantes escorting. The salvors planned to board the vessel today in order to make their assessment of the situation and leave to report back on their findings. Unfortunately due to deteriorating weather conditions their attempts to board today have been unsuccessful.
The initial plan is to provide an independent power pack in order to power up the windlass and emergency fire pump and establish an emergency stern towing connection. Then make the vessel safe to board, which would require gas freeing the accommodation, engine room and main deck. The salvors have received permission from the Spanish authorities to bring the vessel in closer but no less than 12 n miles from the shore, which would make their task easier.
On a photo CHESHIRE as of Aug 27