x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Cargo ship that ran aground in Ajman to be scrapped

The Sea Blue was sailing from Al Hamriya in Dubai to visit a number of African countries when it ran into bad weather on Tuesday morning.

The Sea Blue cargo ship lies grounded. Because of the damage sustained it will be cut up for scrap. Satish Kumar / The National
The Sea Blue cargo ship lies grounded. Because of the damage sustained it will be cut up for scrap. Satish Kumar / The National

AJMAN // A cargo ship that ran aground in stormy seas earlier this week will be cut up and sold for scrap.

The Sea Blue was sailing from Al Hamriya in Dubai to visit a number of African countries when it ran into bad weather on Tuesday morning.

According to the ship's owner, who preferred not to be named, the engines cut out and despite the efforts of the crew to restart them, the vessel was washed on to the shore near to Ajman Corniche.

Safety experts who inspected the vessel recommended it be scrapped as it was too badly damaged to be properly re-floated. Despite being condemned to the scrap heap, the ship has become a star attraction for people living nearby.

"I took some nice pictures on Sharjah Corniche when two ships hit the shores last year, and when I heard that this year another ship had hit Ajman shore I could not miss this wonderful photo opportunity," said Matthew Andre, a Filipino.

The 11 crew members are still living on board the stricken vessel. An official from Ajman civil defence said officials are monitoring the situation closely.

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

Last month, strong winds and high waves led to a cargo ship sinking off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Qaiwain (UAQ).

Its six Iranian crew were set adrift in their lifeboat for five hours while they waited to be rescued. A distress signal was sent at 1.30am but coastguards could not start a helicopter search until dawn due to bad weather. The cargo vessel had left Sharjah docks for Iran when its main engine broke down. The captain attempted to return to port but the overloaded ship's second engine also failed and it went down in stormy weather and 10ft-high waves.

The crew, who did not have a GPS in their dinghy, were found two nautical miles offshore after 90 minutes of searching.

The men, none of whom were seriously injured, were taken to the UAQ hospital.

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