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EXPLOSION of MT VICUNA, november 15th 2004

  Nov 15th, 2004 :

A very strong explosion occurred on Cattalini pier during the discharging operation of MT VICUNA (methanol cargo) at around 1930 of Nov 15th and after one hour approx the FWD vsl started partially sunk into the water while alongside at Cattalini pier.
Today 16th AM have noticed that the midship was broken and sunk.

During the explosion a considerable quantity of oil was spilled in the water and authorities have worked hard during all over last night to avoid such oil spread in the bay and stop all maneuverings for about 2 hours.
For the time being the oil spilled is under control but hard work will continue for undetermined period.

As far as the news coming up to us, it seems that 4 crew members and the surveyor from the Lloyd Register are disappeared but most of the crew were rescued last night but numbers still unknown,besides some surveyors were on board together with the shipping agents but so far all of them are under doctor´s care.

The pilots/launches/tugboats/firemen and ambulances worked hard to control the big fire/assist the people and avoid further damages.

A meeting was held last night at port harbour Master office to start to investigate the accident.

It is well understood from authorities that Cattalini pier is temporarily closed for evaluation of the pier and accident investigation and according to the informations received , Cattalini should not be back to a normal operation during the next 3/4 months but could be longer.

All vessels for loading and discharging operations were deviated to the Petrobras pier(Vopak terminal). Since all operations were temporarily stopped, the Petrobras pier can not receive any kind of vsls for the moment for safety reasons, untill the port authorities give the green light as well as inform parties concerned that the operations can be effected without any restrictions, as for time being any operations are being considered not safe yet.

Nov 18th, 2004

Salvage company SMITH TAK and WIJSMULLER are presently at Paranagua to commence the ship´s rescue, however the companies are preparing the equipments to commence the operation.
First step is to take out the ship´s deck from the pier of Cattalini, as after the explosion the ship´s deck was flung to the pier.
The authorities have started the investigation and according to the informations received from them the results of the investigation will take around 10/12 days, therefore only after this investigation conclude the salvage companies can start their work.
A floating crane has been hired to assist on the operation.
A diver company from Netherlands was also requested to join the salvage team.
The ship´s IFO still leaking in the water and technicians are trying to stop it but upto now no success, it believes that the vsl had on board around 500 to 700 MT of bunker. A daily and often meeting are been held with port authorities/navy/Cattalini terminal as well as the insurance company in order to define the best solution.

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