Sheffield Beach

The Re-floating of the MT Phoenix tanker




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Published on Sep 11, 2011

The tanker, the MT Phoenix got in trouble in the vehement storm that was belting on the Kwazulu-Natal north coast on the 26th of July 2011. It eventually stranded on the beach off Sheffield Beach with its stern coming in first and as the stern got stuck it swung around until the bow almost rested on dry beach the next morning after the storm subsided...This video is about a well engineered Ship Salvaging project.

On the 27th of July 2011, the storm had subsided and the tanker set the scene for what would bring many tourists to the area. There was a strange kind of beauty in the stranding, like a majestic elephant bull that has come to the end of the road

The first refloating attempt took place at about 16h30 on the 31st of July 2011. The ZTUG SMIT AMANDLA was the only tugboat used in the operation with the ZTUG SMIT AYANDA an onlooker. A single cable was used that was attached to the original anchor chain of the tanker. The swell was good but probably not good enough for the day and the ship didn't move during this operation. The operation was eventually disbanded.

After the first refloating attempt took place, salvaging work continued and the oil that was in the tanker were pumped out through the attached tubeline.

The second refloating attempt took place at about 16h30 on the 1st of August 2011. The ZTUG SMIT AYANDA was tied to the front of the ZTUG SMIT AMANDLA and a single cable was used that was attached to the original anchor chain of the tanker. The swell was impressive following the recently passed spring tide. The attempt swung the hull of the MT Phoenix around but the chain proofed to be weak and broke in the process, forcing the team to give up the attempt for the day.

After the second refloating attempt the ship is pushed back to its original position by the successive swells. The swip swivels around its stern which is the part where it is actually more firmly stuck and it originally stranded with its stern first as well..Later the maritime helicopter removes the crew from the ship and the operation for the day is abandoned again...

The third refloating attempt took place after dark at about 18h30 on the 3rd of August 2011. The ZTUG SMIT AYANDA was again tied to the front of the ZTUG SMIT AMANDLA and a single cable was used that was attached to the original anchor chain of the tanker. The tanker didn't want to move nothwithstanding the bigger force of the combined two tugboats. At about 18h50, the chain that was attached to the bow snapped again and in this long 30 second exposure we can clearly see the sparks that eminated as the chain was pulled at high speed through the holes.

The opportunity that lied in the remains of the spring tide was now exhausted and the operation was now postponed for a month till the next new moon and spring tide and in the meantime more salvaging and cleanup took place as well as planning for the next operation..This time two cables would be used connected to the two tugboats seperately.
On Friday the 2nd of September 2011 the final refloating exercise on the

MT Phoenix off Sheffield Beach on the Kwazulu-Natal North Coast of South Africa was to commence. The refloating required a swell of at least 2m and as New Moon went past a few days earlier, the spring tide was still dominant. It was anticipated then that inclement weather from the south would hopefully contribute to the effect and the peak of the tide was going to be at 18h27. Earlier the afternoon the two tugboats ZTUG SMIT AMANDLA and ZTUG SMIT AYANDA were already present and connected with seperate cables to the bow section of the ship. The ship was more firmly fixed on its stern side and the idea was to swivel it around by pulling the bow away from the beach to face seawards.

I hereby state that I have the full commercial rights to this video. All videography and photographs were taken by me.
The music background in this video was generated with Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Edition 14's Scorefitter ™ (by Avid) and I am licensed to use this application and to use the music specifically made by Scorefitter for any purpose including public and commercially accept full responsibility for any fair claims that may be instituted against me for using this music. The titles and textual descriptions were also created by Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Edition 14.

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