In February this year I published a story on this blog about a ship 164 meters in length was found adrift and with a strong heel 50 degrees had finished docking at the port of Bilbao. The ship captured all newscasts for a week, as it was drifting without crew in the Bay of Biscay. The end of that story turned out to be a happy ending, four harbor tugs and three practical Bilbao, Centaurus collecting trailer, Modern Express berthing at the pier, and converting the port of Bilbao in port shelter.
To make a brief reminder of this news, I'll do a quick summary. The Modern Express that left the port of Owendo (Gabon) the 15 January 2016 with 3600 tons of wood cut in their garages, and a dozen public works machines, was adrift in the Bay of Biscay the 26 January, after it was evacuated his crew off the coast of Lugo. Salvage rescued by helicopter to 22 crew members when they were to 148 miles of Cape Ortegal. The first air environment to arrive was the helicopter Helimer 401, which he managed to hoist 16 crew, all in good condition, and he moved to the airport in La Coruna. The helicopter Fishing II, Xunta de Galicia, he managed to rescue the remaining six sailors and moved to Celeiro. The 22 crew, Philippine origin, They were rescued unhurt, And finally they gathered in a hotel where they stayed coruñés installed until last weekend following the rescue.
Centaurus later the tug towing firm to get the day 1 February, initiating the transfer to Bilbao. The Panamanian ship tanks stored in a 300 tonnes of fuel oil and 180 diesel, small quantities to fear for otherwise "Prestige" (The Prestige was carrying 77.000 tons).
The reason for the great heeling, still no official version, He had several hypotheses. Among which I noted were the following:
- That their complex heeling correction system (inclination) whereby powerful pumps move ballast water from one tank to another, as it will produce the heeling, They had worked abnormally (either by human error or failure in automation).
- A trincaje not entirely suitable load, It would have led to an initial cargo shifting a band, and that would have been the cause of the ship initially acquire a heeling, that in the end for some reason, He was accentuated.
Today I distanced himself a bit of my second hypothesis (also partly because I have visual information new).
And so it ended this news blog, with the ship (and great heeling), docked at the port "safe haven" of Bilbao 3 February, with hundreds of onlookers watching the entrance to the ro-ro giant painted in white and blue.
Two days later, a temporary reached the shores vizcaínas so to avoid another accident, the Port Authority of Bilbao moved the boat to the dock AZ-2, a much safer mooring a ship about to turn around.
Merchant Navy concluded, after reviewing the wineries, the need bailing. The decision was made in accordance with the Dutch technical and after certifying, two days after the ship had docked in Bilbao, that was stable. Finally, the 19 April, the company began downloading the 'Modern Express'. The first images from inside the ship, They were published exclusively by mail. They can be observed that vehicles moved and beat against bulkheads, but apparently it shows that the timber maintained its trincaje (This is why I commented that the idea of heeling as a result of shifting the burden, It seems to lose points).
Note that the Dutch SMIT Sauvage, the company that carried out the rescue, It took twenty days to remove the vessel heeling, que el día 25 was already fully upright position. Finally the 'Modern Express’ It looked like a real ship. At that time the owners, insurance companies and the recipients of the load began to negotiate what to do with the content of the wineries and the ship. Technical envisaged between 10.000 and 12.000 work hours, without cleaning.
Como comentaba, once the ship was perfectly upright position, It started downloading. They came Gabonese authorities, Belgian judges and lawyers shippers and insurance companies with the mission to ensure their interests and / or gather information on the state of charge and the condition of the vessel.
And in the end the Modern Express again be towed, definitely leaving the port of Bilbao 21 September of 2016, in the wake of the tug "VB Hispania", in which it would be his last navigation. the vessel “Modern Express”, who spent seven months in the Port of Bilbao, It was finally towed to a port in Turkey for what may be scrapped. And I assure you that although it seems a rumor loudly, I have not yet been confirmed by any route. And the truth is that it is a shame, that much work to save a boat, at the end you can end it in a junkyard, after the port of Bilbao became for seven months, at the first port refuge after the Prestige disaster.
Just yesterday the happy ending of the story is also recalled in Bilbao, in a panel discussion entitled “Modern Express- A success”. In it the controversy over the need for shelters treated with ports which accommodate vessels accident victims and to provide them with services requiring. The table was organized by the Biscay Association of Merchant Marine Captains -AVCCMM-, with the collaboration of Bilbao River Maritime Museum, The Port of Bilbao, Harbourmaster, Practical Bilbao, Tugboat Ibaizabal, Salvage company Smith and Amarradores the Port of Bilbao. It was a meeting of great interest to all professionals in the maritime field, moderated by the president of the AVCMM, Capt. Javier Zarragoikoetxea, and so I just told an assistant, It was not clarified anything about the motives of heeling, nor the future scrapping of the vessel was confirmed (although it is what you think). To emphasize that today the AVCCMM is between 100 and 200 associated, far from over 600 he had in years 80, when the flood of August 1983 It swept away the headquarters of the association, the legendary ship docked at the Consulate of Bilbao City Pier. Certainly, This boat has a curious story to tell another time.
So in two weeks!