Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Crisis averted as 4 tugs assist the Ever Given as immense pressure mounts on springs 9th December 2019

Pic credit Peter Stokes


Ever Given alongside Felixstowe Berth 8. Last port Rotterdam, 10 metre draught for her next port of Hamburg. Initially 2 tugs were ordered then a 3rd was requested as the winds increased further. With winds increasing, the pilot radios the captain to discuss that with the forecast of 30+ knots winds and the strong ebb tide a 4th would be required to make sure the safety of the vessels and crew. Plan A. To have the 3212 forward Svitzer Kent aft, Svitzer Deben starboard quarter and the 2411s forward Svitzer Shotley starboard shoulder, Svitzer Sky forward but had to change plan to avert big issue. While alongside waiting for services from the Cosco Harmony, the pilot had boarded the Ever Given and immediately radios the tugs to say there was immense pressure was on the aft springs so the Kent makes fast aft and immediately pulls 50% astern to relieve the stress on the lines. Decision was to get Sky push up starboard shoulder and Shotley fast starboard quarter and push up to reduce the strain on lines.

Once the Svitzer Deben was released from the Cosco, they swing around to make fast on the centre lead forward. As the last lines were released, the Shotley and Sky come away from the ships side. Sky clears the starboard side and once off the berth Sky to push up midships on the port side as it would be safer. Clearing the berth, all 4 tugs bring her into the channel. Kent continues to tow straight astern to stop the headway. Winds increasing further from the North West 27-38 knots the pilot made the right decision to have 4 tugs. Finally in the channel, the Shotley eases and comes in to let go from the starboard quarter. Once they had been released they went around the stern to the port side to escort if something went wrong. The Deben moves from the starboard shoulder to right ahead and builds to a full pull to get her moving. Kent drops in astern as the headway increases. Meanwhile out in the North Sea, a pilot boards the Wilson Saar at the Washington Buoy. She was planned starboard side to the Navyard 2. The pilot requests a tug for berthing. Shorty after he radios again and says that a Svitzer tug would be way too big for a vessel this size so a plan was to use the Gray TesNaon port shoulder as hope it will control a swing off the berth. If it looks dangerous they will abort and go to anchor in the Parkeston Anchorage. Inside the harbour, the pilot radios VTS to find out what the latest was with the weather. ABORT ABORT ABORT They anchored in the Parkeston Anchorage until the weather improve. A pilot launch would pick the pilot up once the Wilson Saar had settled. BNS Belgica (Fisheries patrol vessel) and the sailing vessel Zenobe Gramme had come into harbour after sailing down the River Orwell from Ipswich. They were both outbound to Zeebrugge. Headway increasing as they pass the Fort Buoy , the pilot gets the Sky to push up full power on the port quarter while the Kent moves out onto the starboard side at full line load for a powered indirect. The pilot uses helm to get the 400 metre Ever Given around the 90° Beach End. Safely around the Beach End, Sky eases and breaks away from the ships side. Kent eases and comes in to be released.

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