The drifting car carrier Modern Express is heading towards land and is now some 200 km away from Gironde, France, as weather continues to interfere with the salvage attempts, the French Maritime Authority said.
A four-member team from the company SMIT Salvage boarded the 10,454 dwt vessel on Friday in an attempt to secure it for towing, however, they were unable to finish the task before nightfall. During the operation one of the team members suffered minor injuries and needed to be evacuated.
According to the authority, the second attempt of boarding the 2001-built car carrier was delayed, as the weather worsened on Saturday. The team eventually managed to board the car carrier in the afternoon, making initial preparations for the towing operation.
Another attempt to board Modern Express will be made on Monday when a favorable weather window is expected.
If the team does not succeed to prepare the vessel for towing on Monday, Modern Express is expected to ground on the coast of the Landes department on Monday night.
The Panamanian-flagged vessel was reported drifting east toward land at a speed of 2-3 nautical miles, while the measured winds at the site were of Force 6 and waves were up to 6 meters.
Vessels including two Spanish tugs chartered by SMIT Salvage, French Navy’s frigate and Lynx helicopter, rescue tug Abeille Bourbon and a support and assistance ship Argonaute, are at the site monitoring the situation.
Modern Express, loaded with 3600 tons of timber and construction machinery, ran into trouble on January 26 when it started listing some 240 km off Cape Ortegal, Galicia, in the Bay of Biscay. The vessel’s crew of 22 people was evacuated that afternoon.
Due to inclement weather, and the shift of the cargo aboard the vessel, Modern Express reached a list of some 50 degrees.
World Maritime News Staff