Cargo Ship Sinks Underwater



Picture shows the boat docked at the Saipan dock on Monday morning prior to its final voyage. All goods on board were lost at sea. (RAY ALVAREZ)

A Northern Marianas ship owned by Huangshun Corp carrying 3,000-4,000 lbs of cargo from Saipan supposedly lost propulsion as it was entering the Tinian Harbour on Monday afternoon and sank underwater that night as it was tugged away from the reef.

The captain and one crewmember aboard were safely rescued by a Jet Ski driven by Tinian harbour police officer after a distress call was raised by the captain and no injuries were reported.

Tinian DPS director Juan Santos in an interview said that no oil spill was reported but due to precautionary measures an oil containment boom was laid out yesterday afternoon.  Santos said divers confirmed that the boat had no hazardous or pollutant cargo aboard and it consisted of grocery items that included three pallets of frozen goods, soda, and canned goods.

According to the investigation, it is reported that the ship sunk because of a big hole or damage to the hull caused by breakwater metals and as of last night, the boat was still underwater.  As the boat was approaching the Tinian Harbour’s entrance, the ship lost propulsion but the engine was fine.  The ship then drifted and ran aground on top of the reef due to low tide.

A company was hired to tow the ship into the breakwater or to deeper water away from the reef but they discovered a hole behind the captain’s deck.  The ship reportedly sunk completely within the vicinity.  Santos said, “From there, they were trying to tow as fast as they can.  I think it was taking on too much water so it sunk”.

Santos expressed that they have come up with a salvage plan that will be implemented today and an assessment is underway to determine if there was damage to the coral.

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Source: Radio New Zealand, Saipan Tribune


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