The preparations to refloat the recently grounded Dutch cargo ship MV Priscilla are progressing well, according to an update from HM Coastguard.
Salvors appointed to undertake the operations, Multraship, Ardent and Wagenborg, have managed to remove 28 tonnes of marine gas oil (MGO) from the vessel, which ran aground off Caithness on July 18.
Taking into account daily consumption for ship services, 15 tonnes of MGO was retained on board for essential services, along with 4 tonnes of ‘solidified’ heavy fuel oil (HFO) and 2 tonnes of lubricating oil (LO).
“Good progress is being made and the agreed quantity of bunkers has now been safely removed from MV Priscilla. I am pleased to report that operations to prepare the vessel for a re-float are progressing well,” acting SOSRep Hugh Shaw said.
At a meeting of the Salvage Control Unit (SCU) held on July 24 further discussions were held on the ongoing salvage and refloat of MV Priscilla, which remains in a stable condition but still hard aground on the Pentland Skerries.
Since July 23, over 270 tonnes of cargo has been discharged from the vessel onto a reception barge. The barge transported the cargo to Windwick Bay where it would be loaded onto the MV Priscilla’s sister ship MV Alana Evita.
A second barge is now loading cargo and operations will continue until around 1,350 tonnes have been removed in order to lighten the vessel.
In order to control an unplanned refloat during lightering operations a tug will be connected to the stern of the MV Priscilla once 500 tonnes has been discharged.
Prior to the refloating, the ship’s tanks will be prepared for air pressurisation. Priscilla will then be deballasted and refloated on high water.
The Temporary Exclusion Zone remains at 1,000 metres while the operation and activity is ongoing. Priscilla’s six crewmembers are safe and remain on board.