After two attempts to reach the stricken oil tanker Siteam Anja failed due to inclement weather, a smaller tanker has managed to reach the vessel and launch the lightering operation.
Namely, the Sea Lion tanker reached the grounded vessel on Tuesday morning availing of the improved weather conditions and started to unload the vessel, the Uruguay navy said.
It is estimated that around 1,000 tons of oil and ballast water will be removed from the ship before efforts to pull it free from the grounding site are launched.
In addition, preparations are being made to unload some of the ship’s cargo to allow for the refloating.
The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker could be freed in some 5 to 7 days, depending on the weather conditions in the area.
The US-based salvage company T&T Salvage has been hired to free the vessel which ran aground onto rocks just 400 meters off the shore of Lobos Island, Uruguay, on May 17.
The 44,640 dwt ship, owned by the Bermuda-based shipping company Team Tankers, ran aground after it suffered an engine cooling issue and subsequently a blackout.
At the time of the incident the vessel was en route from San Lorenzo, Argentina to Rio Grande, Brazil.
World Maritime News Staff