The 4,900 dwt general cargo vessel BBC Shanghai encountered engine troubles while it was sailing south of Port St Johns on March 15, according to South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
The authority initiated rescue efforts to assist the 2001-built vessel and at midnight the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) kept the ship’s situation under a close watch, while rescue efforts were being coordinated between services in Port Elizabeth and East London to mobilize a set of tugs towards BBC Shanghai.
Captain Daron Burgess, technical manager for SAMSA’s southern region in Port Elizabeth, informed that the Antigua Barbuda-flagged vessel was afloat and adrift and that the authorities would “try and prevent it from running aground, keeping the safety of the crew and pollution of the environment in mind.”
He added that SAMSA was also in the process of establishing the vessel’s type of cargo in order to try and secure it from possibly polluting the ocean should the situation deteriorate.
The vessel’s charterer BBC Chartering confirmed that the ship had an engine breakdown, adding that it is currently attended by MV Thorco Sun.
The company also said that towage options are currently under review.
At the time, the 100-meter-long cargo ship was on its way from the South African port of Durban to port of Lagos in Nigeria, where it was scheduled to arrive in late March, according to AIS data provided by MarineTraffic.