x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Ajman ’landmark’ ship on the beach to be cut up for scrap

The cargo ship Sea Blue has been there for three months now since it ran aground on the way to Africa.

The Sea Blue cargo ship sits on the beach near Ajman Corniche. It ran aground in January and is soon to be cut up and scrapped. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
The Sea Blue cargo ship sits on the beach near Ajman Corniche. It ran aground in January and is soon to be cut up and scrapped. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

AJMAN // Work has started to cut up and scrap the Sea Blue cargo ship that ran aground in rough seas in January.

Adnan Essa, the owner, said it would cost between US$120,000 (Dh440,784) and $150,000 to break up the 1,200-tonne vessel and remove it from Ajman beach.

“The ship was insured but the insurance company has not yet finalised their work,” Mr Essa said.

“I am going to pay from my pocket and have the ship removed as it’s so delicate staying here.

“We can sort it out with the insurance later.”

The ship will be slowly cut into pieces and the metal taken to Al Nawras Metal and Scrap, also owned by Mr Essa, in Sharjah.

Diving Contractors International Salvage and Marine will take the ship apart.

Caitano Samuel, a diver and salvage expert who will lead the operation, said the process will be carried out in three phases.

“Phase one is removal of all oil and other flammable liquids,” Mr Samuel said. “With the support of the Ajman authorities we are moving forward with pollution-free, high-safety measures.”

Phase two will involve underwater cutting, with sections of the ship winched out over the beach.

The final phase involves clearing any leftover scrap and cleaning the beach.

Mr Samuel did not say how long the work would take.

Mr Essa said the Sea Blue was sailing from Al Hamriya in Sharjah to African countries when it ran into rough seas, with waves as high as seven metres.

The ship’s engines cut out and despite the efforts of the crew to restart them, the vessel was washed on to the beach near Ajman Corniche.

Safety experts who inspected the ship recommended that it be scrapped as it was too badly damaged to be refloated.

The ship was carrying 11 crew members when it ran into trouble. They were all rescued without injury.

The coast of the Northern Emirates is notorious for rough seas, particularly from January to March, with ships sinking or running aground each year.

ykakande@thenational.ae