Stranded Transport Vessel Draws Visitors Skip to content

Stranded Transport Vessel Draws Visitors

The transport vessel Godafoss, which belongs to the Icelandic company Eimskip and ran aground near Fredrikstad in southeast Norway on Thursday evening, attracted a number of spectators over the weekend.

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An Eimskip container vessel. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

It is located on the reef Kvernskjaer, between the islands Asmaloey and Kirkoey near the larger island Hvaler. The head of the Hvaler district council released a statement pointing out that the roads and parking lots in areas close to the location couldn’t handle so much traffic, Morgunbladid reports.

Ólafur William Hand, director of Eimskip’s PR and marketing department, said the oil leak from the ship does not appear to be as severe as originally feared. The ship was carrying 800 tons of oil in its tanks and 40 tons have been collected by special booms.

People are concerned that the oceanic national park Ytre Hvaler might be in danger and a few birds with oil in their feathers have turned up dead on either side of the Oslo fjord.

Hand said it is understandable that people are concerned about the impact the oil leak will have on the environment and is hoping it will be minimal. It isn’t likely that more will leak from the ship, he stated, because seawater has rushed into the ship’s tanks.

The semi-liquid oil has become like concrete and is sitting on top of the seawater inside the tanks, he described. The weather had been cold and clear in the past days.

Almost 20 containers had been unloaded from the transport vessel last night and the work will continue today. It is uncertain when the ship itself will be moved; the rescue operation might take a few weeks.

Godafoss was carrying 430 containers with 230 on deck. Last night a container of explosives was unloaded from the ship.

The containers are moved to a pram, which can carry eight containers at a time. A larger transport vessel, which can carry 106 containers, is expected to arrive at the site today.

Hand said moving the containers requires considerable precision in these circumstances. “The containers are either 20 or 40 feet long and can weigh up to 30 tons.”

“When every container has been removed, ballast and stability is recalculated and seawater pumped into tanks to ensure that the ship doesn’t float up. It is important to control all circumstances because we don’t want the ship to float before it is prepared,” Hand explained.

He said the ship’s 14-person crew is feeling all right and have worked hard to save the ship under the captain’s control.

Hand wouldn’t comment on reports in the Norwegian media that the captain has admitted to having miscalculated the course before the ship ran aground. Other reports say the pilot boat left Godafoss too early.

Eimskip has sailed to Norway on a regular basis for 25 years without an accident so far. The company’s transport vessels arrive in Fredrikstad once a week.

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