Maritime SAR Operation Underway as Bulk Carrier Takes on Water in Gulf of Finland
The Finnish Border Guard continues maritime SAR operations launched on Thursday afternoon to assist a cargo ship to the west of Suursaari. The leak on the ship has been brought under control, and the pumping of water continues, keeping the situation stable. The 22-strong crew remains on the ship.
The pumping of water that leaked from the bilge well to the cargo ship’s engine room became possible late last night, once equipment and staff had been transported to the scene. After the distress message was sent, the water level in the engine room had risen by approx. 1 to 2 metres before the pumping began. Pumping in the engine room has been discontinued, however, as it has done little to lower the water level. Pumping operations now take place in another hold that was also leaking. Before pumping started, the water height in this compartment was some 70 cm. The pumping will be continued until such a time that it will be possible to start towing the ship.
Currently, the Border Guard’s patrol vessel Tursas, Arctia Oy’s Nordica, Alfons Håkans’ Atlas and Kindral Kurvits, an Estonian patrol vessel, are at the scene. The Finnish Navy’s pollution control vessel Halli is on its way, taking more pumping equipment to the scene. It is expected to arrive during the morning. The Finnish Defence Forces’ NH90 helicopter and the Estonian Marine Search and Rescue Centre’s helicopter are standing by to evacuate the crew.
The Border Guard’s marine SAR helicopter is currently transporting a new crew to the scene. Currently, coast guards from Kotka Coast Guard Station and firemen from Kymenlaakso rescue services are on board the cargo ship.
During the night, the ship had drifted a short distance to the west from the scene.
At 12.41 on 8 March, the Border Guard’s MRCS Helsinki received a distress message stating that water was leaking into the engine room of a cargo ship sailing to St Petersburg. The reported water depth was approx. 5 m. The cargo vessel had a crew of 22, who were not in immediate danger. At the time of the incident, the cargo ship flying the flag of Panama was in international waters to the west of Suursaari island.