The fire-damaged container ship MSC Flaminia will be towed to a sheltered anchorage in German waters for evaluation before it is towed to a yet-undetermined port, the vessel’s owner said.
Reederei NSB said the ship and its cargo would undergo an initial inspection by British, Dutch and French experts on behalf of the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency when the vessel approaches the English Channel this weekend.
The ship then would be towed to German waters in an operation coordinated by the German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies. At the anchorage, firefighters, chemists and engineers will examine the vessel for hazards before a decision is made on a port.
The MSC Flaminia is expected to reach the sheltered area in German waters during the week of Sept. 3. German officials estimate the complete salvage operation would take up to two months.
“We are glad that after the assignment to the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies, the salvage of our MSC Flaminia is finally proceeding. To us, this indicates that our company’s philosophy is right and the German flag pays off,” Helmut Ponath, CEO of Reederei NSB, said at a press conference in Bremerhaven.
The MSC Flaminia and its accompanying group of tugs were approximately 350 nautical miles off the entrance to the English Channel on Tuesday.
A fire and subsequent explosion on July 14 forced the crew to abandon ship in the mid-Atlantic, about 1,000 miles from land. One seafarer died and another is missing. Three others were injured, including one who remains in critical condition.
The accident happened while the ship was en route from Charleston to Bremerhaven via Antwerp and Felixstowe.
The ship’s owner has declared general average, meaning losses will be apportioned among all parties with cargo on the ship. The MSC Flaminia, chartered to Mediterranean Shippking Co., has capacity of 6,732 20-foot-equivalent units.