Salvage of freighter stranded off north sea island of langeoog will take several more days. The experts wanted to pump out ballast water from tuesday evening so that tugs could free it from the sandbank. This will take some time, said hans-werner monsees, head of the havariekommando. The salvage is now being prepared step by step. "We hope to have it done before the weekend."
Tugs were originally intended to tow the 225-meter-long bulk carrier "glory amsterdam" already on monday evening from the sandbank pull. But the havarie command had to change its plan because the water depth was not sufficient, even at high tide. The experts therefore looked for an alternative on tuesday.
Now they want to find the 22.000 tons of ballast water pumped out to keep the unloaded ship stable at sea. At the same time, two ocean-going tugs are to secure it with towing lines about 1000 meters long. The wind could otherwise have driven the lighter freighter even further ashore, explained the spokesman for the havarie command, michael friedrich.
Environmentalists and fishermen are concerned
Environmentalists and fishermen look with concern at the stranded freighter. In the fuel tanks of the glory amsterdam are a good 1800 tons of heavy oil and 140 tons of marine diesel. The wrecked freighter poses a serious threat to the wadden sea national park, where numerous waders, ducks and geese are currently resting, according to the environmental protection organization WWF. German fishermen fear that oil could have polluted fishing grounds for months.
Nevertheless, the salvage specialists decided against pumping out the propellants as a precautionary measure. "The ship is safe and has no cracks", said friedrich. Pumping out the sandbank would increase the risk of oil getting into the water. A surveillance aircraft flies regularly over the area around the freighter. Spilled oil has not been detected so far, according to the havarie command.
First the anchor broke – then the towline
The "glory amsterdam had drifted in german bay on sunday. The ship had previously left the port of hamburg and was anchored near helgoland. This way the ships could save harbor dues, friedrich said. The anchor broke loose during the storm. Tugboats tried to prevent the manovrable freighter from drifting onto the sandbank two kilometers off langeoog. But the towline broke again and again during the storm with waves up to seven meters high.
22 sailors are on the "glory amsterdam. According to the havarie command, they are doing well. A mechanic has so far tried unsuccessfully to repair the rowing gear, friedrich said. This is blocked, which could make the salvage operation even more difficult.
Lower saxony's environment minister stefan wenzel (grune) called for stricter safety regulations for shipping in view of the difficult salvage operation. Ships with inadequately trained crews had to be stopped at port state control, the politician said. Stricter building regulations are also needed, especially for tanks and steering gear.