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On Monday last week the Phoenix reported that his ship was dragging its sole remaining anchor – the other had been lost in a similar incident earlier off the Eastern Cape coast – and that the ship was being washed towards the coast.
The Phoenix meanwhile had to be instructed by the salvage tug Smit Amandla to pay out more anchor chain to counter the ship’s drift – a basic measure that should have been the first step in saving the ship.
According to Smit Amandla Marine and Samsa, the tug fired eight rocket lines to the Phoenix in attempting to connect a tow. Six were later found aboard the tanker, but none had been used to secure a tow. Similarly, two messenger lines were put aboard the ship to allow the crew to pull the towing gear on board.
The Phoenix reported that the messenger rope had “slipped off” the drum end of the winch on both occasions. Samsa says that various maritime experts had been consulted and none could recall that happening in the past.
Yesterday a bid to refloat the Phoenix was going well until a cable connecting the salvage tug to the beached ship snapped. The ship had moved away from the rocks for a short time before lodging itself back to its original position. Further attempts will be made.