Ship stranded in Milne Bay
To refloat the ship, the owner, Feng Sea Shipping, hired the tug with barge from the log pond to unload the log cargo from the deck using the ship’s cranes. On 4 May, the NMSA had carried out an inspection in accordance with the Port State Control procedure.
However, no detainable gaps were identified. However, the vessel was arrested for grounding, which damaged the coral reef and did not report the incident to NMSA.
On May 8, the vessel was successfully refloated with the assistance of a Pacific Towing Pacific Salvor tug. The vessel anchored 2.4 nautical miles from the grounding area to reload the logs unloaded onto the barge after the grounding.
Divers from Pacific Towing conducted an initial underwater survey to establish the ship’s seaworthiness. However, the investigation revealed no shortcomings.
NMSA liaised with professionals from the Environmental Conservation and Protection Agency (CEPA), Coral Sea Foundation and Sea Women of Melanesia experienced in biological assessment to conduct an underwater survey of the reef in order to estimate the damage suffered by the corals.
An investigation into the maritime accidents is already underway by the NMSA.
NMSA Managing Director/CEO Paul Unas said NMSA would conduct an investigation to establish the cause of the incident and appropriate action would be taken after the investigations.
He said the Authority would consider the implementation of compulsory pilotage in the China Strait Passage, as it is not the first time such incidents have occurred in the passage.
The other post-incident recommendation being considered by NMSA is the purchase and installation of current-measuring instruments to collect and disseminate real-time information on the strength and direction of the current to all ships entering the strait. from China.
Mr Unas said the NMSA is mandated to investigate all incidents in PNG waters caused by vessels, regardless of nationality and flag.
The vessel remains detained at Alotau until the NMSA completes the investigation and survey of the damaged reef and the owner pays the imposed penalties decided after review of post-incident reports.