Crews have started preparing for the Modern Express’s possible grounding if a tow line cannot be established in the next 24 hours, officials said Sunday. An update at 15:00 local time said the ship was located 50 nautical miles west of Arcachon, France and drifting southeast at a speed of just over 2 knots.
Weather conditions have further deteriorated since Saturday, with winds of 50 km/h and waves of 6 meters. Weather continues to prevent salvors from boarding the vessel to establish a tow line at time of update. According to Maritime Prefect, salvors will attempt to board the vessel again on Monday morning when the next favorable weather window is expected in a last ditch effort to save the ship before it runs aground.
Officials estimate that the ship may run aground sometime between Monday night and Tuesday night in the vicinity of Landes department in France.
The ship is carrying 300 tons of diesel, according to Maritime Prefect, but at this point all fuel remains secure. The shoreline near Landes is sandy, the agency said.
Maritime Prefect reported at 11:00 Sunday that the ship was located at 59 nautical miles west Arcachon and winds were gusting to 80 km/h.
For reference, on Saturday at 17:30 local time the vessel was approximately 108 nautical miles west of Gironde and drifting up to 3 knots.