x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Beached Ajman ship going piece by piece

Sea Blue was sailing to Africa when it ran aground in rough seas off the coast of Ajman.

The Sea Blue cargo ship is being cut into pieces on the Ajman shore where it ran aground. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
The Sea Blue cargo ship is being cut into pieces on the Ajman shore where it ran aground. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

AJMAN // Workmen using blowtorches and cutting tools are slowly dismantling the Sea Blue cargo ship that ran aground off the Ajman Corniche in rough seas this year.

The ship, which became popular with sightseers after it became stuck in January, has been cordoned off as huge panels from its hull and cabins are removed.

"We have already done most of the cutting and expect to be completely through and clear of the place in about 15 days," said Adnan Essa, the owner of the vessel, who is supervising its removal.

Mr Essa said he would spend between US$120,000 (Dh440,700) and $150,000 to strip the 1,200-tonne ship and will claim the money back from insurers.

Scrap metal from the ship is being taken to Al Nawras Metal and Scrap, also owned by Mr Essa, in Sharjah.

The Sea Blue was sailing from Hamriya Port in Dubai to several African countries when it ran into bad weather, which caused waves as high as six metres.

Its engines cut out and, despite efforts by the crew to restart them, the vessel was washed on to the shore.

Safety experts recommended that the ship be scrapped as it was too badly damaged to be properly refloated, Mr Essa said.

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

The seas off the Northern Emirates coastline are notoriously rough, particularly from January to March, and ships sink or run aground there each year.

ykakande@thenational.ae