The four-member salvage team of SMIT Salvage has managed to board the drifting car carrier Modern Express earlier this morning and set up a tow line, French Maritime Authority said in an update.
The tow line has been attached to the Spanish tug Centaurus, hired by Smit Salvage, which has now started the towing operation and rotating of the ship.
The convoy is en route at 3 knots (about 5 km/h) some 46 km from the coast.
Weather conditions on the spot remain rough with wind force 4 and waves up to 3.5 meters. The inclement weather further increases the risk of the tow line breaking.
The salvage operation gears up amid efforts aimed at preventing the ship from grounding on France’s coast, which is the likely scenario should the towage operation fall through.
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. The ship is carrying 300 tonnes of fuel onboard.
World Maritime News Staff; Image Courtesy: French Navy