On the 8th of March, containership “YUSUF CEPNIOGLU” (5000 GRT, 7000 DWT) laden with about 200 containers in holds/on deck, grounded on the north western coast of Mykonos Island, Greece. The vessel was abandoned by its crew all of whom were landed safely ashore. TSAVLIRIS immediately dispatched salvage personnel to the casualty site as well as S/T “MEGAS ALEXANDROS” (6200BHP, 73BP), T/B “HERMES” (20BP, 180GT) and oil recovery/rescue vessel “AEGIS 1” (1400GRT, 1900 DWT).
Winds were very strong from a northerly direction, causing high seas/heavy swell that forced the majority of the on-deck containers to wash over board. No serious pollution transpired except from the smashed containers. Access to the casualty was not possible for the ensuing days due to rough seas. Substantial quantities of debris began to wash up on neighboring “Korfos Bay” as well as other inlets and the nearby islands.
TSAVLIRIS SALVAGE and EPE (Environmental Protection Engineering S.A), both Hellenic Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA) members, initiated a major clean up effort comprising salvage crew and local volunteers to collect and dispose of the refuge that was washing up along the shoreline. Over 500 cubic metres of debris was collected in the following weeks. Furthermore, oil booms were positioned near the local power and desalination plants to prevent intakes clogging up.
Containerised salvage equipment was transported from Piraeus to Mykonos and an array of local tugs/barges were dispatched to the island to shuttle containers ashore.
Following a weather break on the 15th March, “AEGIS 1” positioned oil booms around the casualty and the affected areas where large quantities of debris were floating and work commenced on cleaning up inside the booms. A dive inspection followed and unveiled that 2 cracks had developed, 1 port midship and 1 starboard amid cargo hold number one. The casualty was sitting hard aground, cargo holds and engine room were flooded and the aft ship was wedged between two rocks. Riggers climbed the deck cargo and by the evening the first 40 ft container was discharged and loaded onto one of the barges.
The loading of containers continued the following day and divers attempted to hottap heavy fuel oil (HFO) tanks 2 port and starboard. The results were poor and alternatives were looked for to get proper access to those tanks. HFO 2 starboard gave a better result and produced a far improved flow of oil at rate of 5-7 cub.metres/per hour.
From the 17th March, weather permitting, containers were loaded onto tugs/barges (including debris from smashed containers), seafastened and shuttled from Mykonos to Lavrion, South East Athens under tow. The operation of removing the oil continued concurrently.
On the 18th April, following the completion of oil removal (lasting about 6 weeks) services were terminated and contractors demobilized.
Contractors currently involved in handling containerized cargo/debris at Lavrion for delivery/disposal.