Cargo ships with eight people on board drifted ashore off Sotra

Eight people are on board the ship. At the nearest it was only 500 meters from a shallow.

To the left you see the cargo ship «Wilson Parnu». The vessel on the right is the fishing boat Nordtind. Photo: Nordtind

22. nov. 2020 07:54

Last updated just now

Last: Just before half past nine, the main rescue center announces that the cargo ship has started the engines and is followed to the quay by the tugboat “Vortex” and KNM “Otto Sverdrup”.

Early on Sunday morning, a large rescue operation was launched west of Sotra. The cargo ship “Wilson Parnu”, with eight people on board, had its engine stopped and drifted ashore a few nautical miles off the coast of Sotra.

A strong gale is blowing towards land in the area.

The main rescue center was notified of the accident at 05.11.

Attempts were made to get a tow on board the boat, but the first tow smoked. The ship eventually got anchored, before it regained some engine power a little before 07.45 and eventually began to move away from land for its own engine.

500 meters from the nearest shallow

According to rescue leader Johan Mannsåker at HRS, the ship was about 500 meters from the nearest shallow when it regained its engine power.

– It’s close. We do not want it any closer than that, says Mannsåker.

If the situation did not come under control, the Main Rescue Center would have urged the captain to evacuate.

“At some point we have to agree with the captain that we have done what we can to save the ship, and encourage them to leave the ship and be hoisted up by helicopter,” Mannsåker said early Sunday morning.

All emergency services moved out to Telavåg when the alarm went off, in addition to the frigate KNM «Otto Sverdrup», a lifeboat, a rescue helicopter, an ambulance boat, a rescue helicopter, a tugboat and a fishing boat that were nearby.

Shortly before 09.30, the Main Rescue Center announces that they are downscaling the operation. The cargo ship will be escorted to the quay by KNM «Otto Sverdrup» and the tugboat «Vortex».

This is what “Wilson Parnu” looked like when she was in Svelgen on June 2 this year. Photo: Bernt Sortland

Put crisis staff in Bergen

“Wilson Parnu” is owned by the shipping company Wilson, which is headquartered in Bergen. The ship also has a home port here.

The company’s head of insurance, Jan Minde, says that a crisis team in Wilson has followed the rescue operation online.

– We sit online all the time and follow what is happening. A tugboat is now about 20 minutes away. We will use this as an escort in case something should happen again, Minde says just before 08.30 on Sunday.

He adds that the crisis team avoids calling the ship frequently so as not to disrupt the crew’s communication with the main rescue center.

All emergency services are in place in Telavåg on Sunday morning. Photo: Ørjan Deisz

– The captain did everything right

The insurance manager describes the incident as follows:

– They suddenly lost engine power and the engine generator crashed while working feverishly to get the engine running again. They had maximum bad luck with the weather, so it was reasonably dramatic. But now their heart rate has dropped a bit as they have started the main engine.

The crew consists of eight Russians. The ship was empty of cargo when it left Kristiansand. It was on its way to Murmansk to pick up new cargo.

– The captain has been very calm and informative and done everything right as far as we can see.

Will debrief the crew

At nine o’clock on Sunday morning, the ship has come a long way from land.

When the cargo ship arrives at the quay, technicians must go on board with people from the shipping company’s crew department. These will give the crew a debrief, says Minde.

– They will not continue the trip until we have received a complete overview and found the cause of the engine shutdown.

He does not yet know where the cargo ship will dock.

– It depends on where we get berth space, and we do not know yet. The plan now is for the ship to go out to sea away from land, then it enters the Korsfjord and then to the Bergen area.

At 05.11, a message came from the 90 meter long cargo ship that they had lost engine power. Photo: Screenshot from Marinetraffic

Dag Inge Aarhus, communications director at the Norwegian Maritime Directorate, says they have been notified of the incident.

– In such a demanding situation, the salvage operation is the most important thing. We are kept continuously informed and will assist if there is a need for technical expertise.

He says that the Norwegian Maritime Directorate will follow up the incident afterwards.

– We will probably inspect the vessel to find out what has gone wrong. But it is a little too early to say how and to what extent, he says.

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