Operation to salvage LC Urata activated

Tug boat Roimata with technical team onboard leaving Port Vila to undertake operation to salvage LC Urata. Photo: OMR

By Glenda Willie

The operation to salvage LC Urata was reactivated yesterday, after it was called off by the owner of the vessel, John Amos on Wednesday evening.

Reports received and compiled by the Office of the Maritime Regulator (OMR), indicated that the ship would have sunk by midnight on Wednesday.

However, according to Interim Regulator, Charlie Maniel, MV Young Blood — the vessel which rescued the 60 passengers and 15 crews on board LC Urata in the early hours of Wednesday morning, spotted LC Urata on its radar while on its way to Malekula yesterday morning at around 3.30am.

A Vanuatu Post officer, Manuveve Andrew also confirmed to OMR authorities yesterday morning that he spotted the ship from an aircraft, miles away from Malekula. The information Andrew relayed to OMR authorities was that he saw the ship’s ramp.

The information collected pushed the authorities and the owner of the vessel to reactivate the operation to save the ship.

Around 2pm yesterday, the tugboat Roimata left Port Vila with the team to salvage LC Urata.

Headed by Inspector Kembro Manderson, the team comprises officers from the OMR, officers from Ports and Harbour, diver Henry Taiford and owner John Amos and his wife.

According to the Interim Regulator, Roimata is expected to reach LC Urata at around 8pm yesterday.

He said their mission is to find the ship, pump seawater out from the ship, do temporary patche and salvaged the vessel either to Vila or any nearest locations which they deemed safe.

He re-emphasized on safety precautionary, while undertaking the task to salvage the ship. In the early hours of Wednesday, LC Urata encountered a technical problem, causing seawater to flood the Engine Room compartment.

The eight ballast tanks on board the ship prevented the vessel from sinking.

Maniel said one of the advantages to salvage the vessel as soon as possible is to prevent navigational hazards to domestic vessels, as well as international liners.

Daily Post understands that all operational costs to rescue the ship is at the expense of the owner.

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