Cape Town - The NS Qingdao salvage operation under way at the Port of Saldanha Bay was reported to be proceeding in a well-co-ordinated manner with good progress made since its severe maritime emergency last year.
This had resulted in the ship having to conduct controlled dumping of toxic chemical cargo off the West Coast.
South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) spokesperson Tebogo Ramatjie said the NS Qingdao ship was currently at anchor in Saldanha Bay, where it was discharging waste cargo, and was alongside its berth again yesterday to continue operations.
“As of March 1, approximately half of the cargo in cargo hold No 3 had been discharged and disposed of at Vissershok high hazardous waste management site. Wastewater will also be pumped into tanks and sent for disposal at the same waste management site,” Ramatjie said.
Further, Ramatjie anticipated that once the vessel was alongside its berth it would take approximately two to three weeks to discharge the remaining waste cargo from the ship and dispose of it at Vissershok.
The vessel would then be inspected by Samsa and its classification society to ensure it was safe to continue its voyage to Brazil to discharge the remaining cargo on-board.
“Samsa and the Deff have reached an agreement with the vessel’s owners and the P&I Club to implement a medium to long-term environmental monitoring programme so that any potential immediate and future impacts can be assessed and mitigated,” Ramatjie said.
To date, Ramatjie said their satellite imaging showed no immediate indications of harmful effects to the receiving environment or marine life.
The cause behind the incident was currently being investigated with the Marshall Islands flag state investigation team recently having started their investigation – they expected the investigation to continue over the next few months until the root cause could be established.
Local Government, Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell said the National Environmental Management Act and the National Environmental Management Waste Act were applicable, and as such provincial government continued to play a supporting and oversight role in the salvage operation.