The badly damaged containership MSC Nikita was safely moored in the Port of Rotterdam.
The badly damaged containership MSC Nikita was safely moored in the Port of Rotterdam on Tuesday following its involvement in a collision off the Hook of Holland on Sunday. The incident launched an intensive salvage operation.
Early on Sunday morning the containerships Nirint Pride and MSC Nikita collided in the North Sea 12 miles off the Hook of Holland. Fire broke out on the bow area of theNirint Pride and the MSC Nikita began taking on water. Kotug"s RT Spirit, SD Shark and RT Margo responded immediately. Upon arrival the SD Shark started to fight the fire on board the Nirint Pride, which was soon under control.
RT Spirit and RT Margo made connections with the MSC Nikita, from which the 25 crew members had already abandoned ship in lifeboats as it was taking on water in the engine room and there was a serious risk of sinking. The Dutch Coastguard tug Waker and the tug Braveheart, operated by Svitzer Salvage, also arrived on site to assist.
While the crew were picked up safely and brought to Hook of Holland, an LOF salvage agreement was made between the co-salvors Kotug and Svitzer Salvage with the owners of the vessel.
With water leaking into the badly damaged MCS Nikita, immediate action was necessary. Helicopters and fast rescue boats were used to put Svitzer Salvage staff and emergency salvage equipment on board. Further salvage equipment was later delivered by the Svitzer tug Simson. Gear from the available salvage tugs was utilised to stop water ingress and pump out the vessel to prevent it from capsizing or sinking.
After stabilisation of the MSC Nikita by the Kotug/Svitzer salvage team at a shallow location in the North Sea, a Port Entry Plan was presented to and later agreed by the Dutch Government and Rotterdam Port Authority. Due to worsening weather conditions and the heavy list of the vessel it was a "one go" situation to bring the vessel into the port as soon as possible.
On Tuesday morning theMSC Nikita entered Rotterdam assisted by theRT Spirit, RT Magic, RT Margo and SD Seahorse, with the Kotug/Svitzer salvage team onboard the vessel. They were escorted by Svitzer"s Braveheart and the Dutch Coastguard ETV Waker, with support from the ARCA for oil pollution standby. The MSC Nikita moored safely at EMO, Rotterdam Europoort, where some containers will be removed to lighter and stabilize the vessel further before bringing it to the ECT terminal for the discharge of containers.
The successful salvage owed much to effective cooperation between all parties involved, including Kotug/Svitzer, the Directie Noordzee, the Dutch Coastguard and the Port Authority of Rotterdam, which made port entry possible within 48 hours after the salvage teams boarded the vessel and started their work.