Heavily Grounded MV Benita Step Closer to Refloating

A number of cargo tanks aboard the heavily grounded bulk carrier MV Benita have now been pumped out, pressurised and sealed, and work continues to re-pressurise the remaining tanks and void spaces as the salvors prepare the vessel for refloating and safe removal.

A demolitions expert from the US continues to assist the salvors and authorities with the possibility to use low impact explosives on the rocks underneath the vessel in order to release the 44,183 dwt bulker, the Greek company Five Oceans Salvage said.

“It should be noted that any use of explosives would, by necessity, be very limited in order to avoid further damage to the vessel and the environment,” the company added.

The 1998-built bulk carrier ran aground in the morning hours of June 17, off Mahebourg, Mauritius, as a result of a fight which broke out between the vessel’s crewmembers the night before.

At the time of the incident the vessel was carrying some 145 tons of oil, the majority of which has been removed ashore. The salvors are now removing the small quantity of fuel oil which remains in two double bottom tanks using vacuum pumping equipment.

MV Benita, which was not loaded with any cargo at the time, remains aground in a stable condition with the deck and side plates not exhibiting signs of undue stress, Five Oceans Salvage said.

“No further oil residue or pollution has been observed around the casualty and specialised anti-pollution booms remain in place along the surrounding shoreline as a precaution. Reports that some 5,000 tons of fuel were lost are not correct,” the company added.

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