Rescue mission - M/V Schieborg
Saturday evening the above mentioned ro/ro vessel got into difficulty with a severe fire in the trailers on the weather deck, and the crew were preparing to abandon vessel. The position was 50 nautical miles due west of Hvide Sande on the west coast of Jutland.
ESVAGT immediately released two vessels ESVAGT OMEGA on station at the South Arne Field for Amerada Hess and ESVAGT GAMMA on station at the Siri Field for DONG. A helicopter from the Danish Rescue Centre was on the scene, but was unable to evacuate the crew due to the fire and the weather conditions.
The two vessels arrived on the scene Sunday 9.01.2005 at 0015 hours. The 15 man crew of Schieborg had abandoned the vessel, and were all in one of the enclosed lifeboats. The helicopter was still not able to lift the casualties due to strong wind and high seas.
We agreed with the Masters on ESVAGT OMEGA and ESVAGT GAMMA, that ESVAGT OMEGA would engage in the rescue operation with ESVAGT GAMMA as back up. The Master of ESVAGT OMEGA decided to launch the FRC, but due to strong winds and high seas it was not possible to get alongside the lifeboat without sustaining damage and getting fouled propellers, it was agreed that the crew from Schieborg, all of whom were wearing survival suits, would jump into the water to be picked up by the FRC crew.
Priority was given to the injured, and the three worst off were picked up first and transferred to the mother vessel, followed by three trips with four casualties each trip. Within the hour the rescue operation was successfully completed, and ESVAGT OMEGA headed for Esbjerg with the casualties with arrival Sunday 0800 hrs. We then decided to let ESVAGT GAMMA follow Schieborg with the aim to take her on tow. One anchor was out with 6 shackles on the winch, the water depth was 30 metres, and the idea was to chase the anchor, but surprisingly the anchor chain remained almost vertical with the vessel drifting east at 3 knots, giving us no possibility to chase the anchor, and at one time we believed the chain to have parted, but 10 nautical miles from the coast the chain started to tighten up, and the Master immediately decided to chase the anchor, and he succeeded in the first attempt.
The vessel was towed a few nautical miles from the coast, before we took the anchor on deck and connected properly up to the towing wire and dismantled the anchor. The Schieborg was then towed to Emshaven where the vessel was delivered Wednesday 12.01.2005.
At the time of the rescue operation the wind force was 24 – 28 m/s with max wave heights of 10 metre. ESVAGT OMEGA has a crew of 9 and ESVAGT GAMMA a crew of 10.
ESVAGT has presently rescued a total of 114 persons all of whom have been picked up from the sea by means of our FRC.