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03.06.10 19:18
Actions of Marine Engineering Bureau Emergency Response Service which are connected with bringing afloat "Palmali Discovery" vessel

On June 03, 2010 at 17.00 (local time) dry-cargo vessel "Palmali Discovery" (Palmali group of companies) called at port of Beirut with grain cargo. Singularity of voyage is that it was made by vessel directly after accident with affected impenetrability of shell in area of fore ballast tanks.
On May 24, 2010 in the morning Marine Engineering Bureau Emergency Response Service (ERS MEB) received from operator of m/v "Palmali Discovery" signal that vessel had grounded in area of Lesbos island.
Transporting cargo (5500 t of grain) was distributed as follow:
- Hold N1 - 900 t;
- Hold N2 - 2100 t;
- Hold N3 - 450 t;
- Hold N4 - 2000 t.
Fore ballast tanks, bow thruster compartment and emergency fire pump compartment were flooded as a result of grounding. Leakage in other ballast tanks and cargo holds was not discovered.
ERS MEB started calculated support of rescue operation almost immediately, appraising stability and strength of not only grounded vessel and also different variations of vessel afloat.
Rescue operation operative center was formed. Yuri Isupov (vice-president of Palmali group of companies) and master Yuri Gusev, DPA entered into this center from ship-owner's side.
Marine Engineering Bureau was represented by head of ERS MEB Alexander Nilva, Ph.D.
Vessel's crew constantly controlled water inflow in vessels compartments. By order of operative center crew made depth measurements along the vessel's hull. Depth was as follows:
- about 2 m in fore part;
- about 10 m in mid part;
- about 15.5 m in aft part.
Vessel was tightly grounded with fore part - approximately up to aft bulkhead of first hold. Calculations with help of programs complex of cargo plan and damage control automatized calculation "Ship.04" showed that with count of flooded ballast tanks loss of averaged depth in fore after accident equaled almost 2.1 m. Under made calculations operative center defined vessel's unload as the only acceptable variant of bringing vessel afloat and called another vessel and floating crane for unload execution.
On May, 25 ERS MEB presented final calculation recommendations (special module of damage control for grounded situation of "Ship.04" complex was used). According to recommendations it was suggested to discharge first hold fully and discharge second one partly by removing no less than 1100 t of cargo onto other water craft. Remaining part of cargo was going to be overloaded from second to third hold.
On May, 26 by virtue of previous calculations and with count of operative center directions ERS MEB has worked out plan of rescue operations (Salvage Plan).
On May, 27 Salvage Plan was approved by Greek Administration (in conventional waters of which rescue operation was taken place) and Russian Maritime Register of Shipping. By this time coaster with length of 71.4 m and floating crane with capacity of 160 t and boom-out with 37 m arrived to emergency vessel.
On May 28 in the morning according to Salvage Plan cargo operations has started. Toward the evening all planed cargo was overloaded on coaster and overloading works from second hold to third were started. Works were passed on at night time and on May, 29 in 02.20 hull of vessel started self-contained movement; after which with work of own screw-rudder propellers and with help of auxiliary tug-boat vessel was taken from ground to safe deep and anchored.
At the request of Palmali group of companies ERS MEB worked up documentation for one-time trip of vessel to the place of unload, Beirut, Libya.
Considering that damages of hull were located fore and out of zone of alternating deformations, vessel have got opportunity to make voyage without execution of repairing works in underwater part of hull but with special restrictions due to sailing region (20-mile near-shore zone), due to wave's height (not bigger than 3.5 m) and due to speed to 7 knots.
New scheme of cargo distribution with empty first hold and fully loaded third and forth holds was suggested:
- hold N1 - 0;
- hold N2 - 1500 t;
- hold N3 - 2000 t;
- hold N4 - 2000 t.
Such scheme of cargo loading had to provide vessel acceptable aft trim, compensate "self-ballasting" of fore ballast tanks and secure cargo from wetting. Upon that strength and stability of vessel were in ranges which are allowed by SOLAS and Rules of Classification Society requirements.
Toward the evening of May, 29 Administration of Flag (Malta) approved One-time Trip which was prepared by Marine Engineering Bureau and on May 30, in the morning after cargo operations completing the vessel departed to Beirut.
In accordance with One-time Trip recommendations during voyage crew thoroughly controlled potential water inflow into compartments which are closely-spaced to damaged tanks, especially into hold 1. Bilge pumps were in constant readiness for water discharging from hold 1.
On June 03, 2010 vessel with undamaged cargo safely arrived to the port of destination.
Carried out rescue operation is a striking example when qualified and operative actions which are based not only on experience but and on professional calculations allow efficiently resolve questions about crew rescue, saving vessel and prevention environmental pollution.
For information - almost all the time of unloading works execution one of the most powerful salvage tug-boats in Mediterranean Sea of private company was near vessel in expectation of profitable order. This company proposed to remove vessel from rocks by "pulling" and most probably it could lead to significant damages of hull.