CSCL Indian Ocean Refloated on Spring Tide

CSCL Indian Ocean aground (image courtesy Havariekommando)

Published Feb 9, 2016 7:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

German authorities with the Havariekommando (Central Command for Maritime Emergencies) have announced the successful refloat of the stranded container ship CSCL Indian Ocean. The attempt began on a spring tide, high relative to recent levels, and with the assistance of 12 tugs with combined bollard pull of over 1,000 tons, she was towed out into the Elbe River's fairway once more.

The refloat began shortly after 0200 hours local time. Her aft section was free by 0206, and by 0220 she was out of the mud. Initial tests found no damage to her steering gear, and authorities said that she was “fully functional.”

Tugs from SMIT Salvage, Fairmount and Kotug Offshore participated in the refloat. "We took advantage of each other's expertise and fleet. That was the purpose of the joint salvage contract,” said a spokesman for the firms. In addition to tugs based in Hamburg, the 200-ton bollard pull AHTs Union Manta and Fairmount Expedition sailed from Dutch ports to join the effort.

Earlier, two Boskalis dredgers removed 65,000 cubic meters of sediment adjacent to the vessel to facilitate her refloat, and lightering vessels removed some 6,000 tons of fuel oil to reduce her draft. Since she went aground on February 3, a total of 26 ships and aircraft worked to monitor and free her, said the Havariekommando.

Once refloated, the Indian Ocean was escorted to Hamburg, arriving at 0615 hours. As of 1900 hours she was moored at Waltershofer Hafen, according to her AIS data.

No pollution has been observed near the Indian Ocean since the grounding, authorities say.

German maritime officials are still investigating the cause of the incident.