- The stranded cargo ship was finally towed to safety after heart-stopping rescue attempts.
- The incident controller stated the Portland Bay vessel was in a ‘steady, anchored’ place.
- The rescue operation is predicted to proceed into the evening after the mission is placed on maintenance.
- Attempts to save the ship and 21 crew members had been hampered by the wild climate.
After heartbreaking rescue attempts were thwarted by hazardous conditions, a stranded cargo ship was finally dragged to safety as reported by Tipblogg.
The Portland Bay freighter was reportedly being towed by three Engage Marine tugboats after a “profitable extraction” of its two anchors, according to the Port Authority of NSW.
The bulk ship, which had 21 crew members on board, was south of Sydney, in the Royal National Park, about a kilometre off Garie Beach.
The ship was in a “stable, anchored spot,” incident controller John Finch said during a press conference on Monday.
Two tugs are on the scene, two anchors have been deployed, and a third tug will be on the scene in the next 15 to 20 minutes, according to Mr Finch.
The ship is being rescued after experts said it was carrying roughly 1000 tonnes of heavy gas oil and that its grounding would be an “ecological catastrophe.”
Controlling the ship
Offshore from Royal National Park, a cargo ship carrying Portland Bay was seen facing rough seas. A rescue helicopter was seen circling the ship in a video from Surf Life Saving NSW as it battled powerful seas off the coast of Illawarra.
Tower cranes on the ship are preventing any attempts at winching, making it a challenging situation, Surf Life Saving tweeted on Monday afternoon.
The 169-meter bulk service, which is currently being kept in place by a tugboat, had raised concerns that it might run aground one nautical mile offshore near Wattamolla because of the erratic weather that affects the beach or drift into nearby cliffs.
Around 2 pm, a second tug boat came on the scene in a concerted effort to take control of the ship and push it further out to sea.
Rescue helicopters and other emergency services are watching the developing situation, and an overhead plane operated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority is providing a communications link with the vessel.
The Hong Kong-registered bulk service, which is around 170 metres long and 27 metres wide, has been double-anchored, according to the authorities. According to deputy police commissioner Peter Thurtell, “the tugboat that is being sent has the capacity to tow it farther out to sea and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will coordinate the resources needed to get it underway out of its own energy.”
Due to safety concerns brought on by the hazardous conditions, a plan to transfer non-essential crew members off the boat with two helicopters has been scrapped.
Dominic Perrottet, the premier of NSW, told reporters on Monday that “it is obviously a tremendously precarious area” and that “our proposals are with these on board.”
However, the NSW government is still collaborating with Commonwealth organisations to ensure that the situation is resolved as soon as possible and that all 21 crew members are removed to safety as soon as possible.
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