Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Product Tanker Splitting in Two Reminiscent of Recent Container and Bulk Vessel Sinkings

Ship Reported Drifting After Fire
Shipping News Feature

ASIA – Last week yet another flag of convenience vessel split in two, this time approximately 270 nautical miles south east of Vung Tau city, Vietnam, in an incident reminiscent to the foundering earlier this year of both the container ship MOL Comfort, and the bulk carrier MV Smart. The 29,995 dwt Tuvalu flagged chemical tanker Theresa Bitung, was en route from China to Singapore when, on 27 November at 10:05 local time, her crew reported a fire in the engine room and after fire-fighting efforts had failed, the 26-strong crew were forced to abandon ship.

All of the Theresa Bitung crew were rescued by the Greek bulk carrier the Maiden Voyage and taken to nearby Hong Kong. The tanker’s owner, Singapore based Raffles Shipping Group sent support vessels to the area to assist the clean-up operation but has put no information as to the ship’s status on the company website.

Nearly a week on from the incident, it has been reported that the vessel has since drifted about 250 nautical miles south from where the distress signal had been issued. Both sections of the tanker are apparently still afloat but no details have been provided regarding its future, whether it will be scrapped, salvaged or sunk.