Efforts to salvage Indonesian naval vessel grounded off Queensland, Australia hampered by stormy weather

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Efforts to salvage the Indonesian naval vessel Arung Samudera from where she ran aground on the Sunshine Coast Queensland, have been delayed due to poor weather conditions.

The 35-metre, tri-masted vessel was originally grounded on August 23 in stormy weather at Inskip Point, near Rainbow Beach. A salvage contractor has being brought in to rescue the stricken vessel, her hull is intact and it is believed the ship is in no imminent danger of breaking apart.

However, the tall ship did drag its anchors and break its rudder and centreboard during the beaching.

Australian Navy Commander Forbes Peters says that although salvage has been postponed until early next week, the vessel will be surveyed today by the salvage firm.

"To develop a plan for how they would salvage the vessel of the beach, that's going to involve a tugboat pulling the thing off the beach with a longline.

"The trouble with actually conducting the salvage will be the sea state... Until the weather abates there really will not be able to do much in terms of salvage," he said.

The 18-man crew - six officers and 12 sailors - of the New Zealand-built vessel have managed to retrieve their belongings from the ship, and are now expected to be transported to temporary accommodation in local barracks in Bulimba, Brisbane.

It is still hoped the ship can be repaired in time for it to attend a summit next month in Sydney, but this to be unlikely. A decision on whether to take her to Brisbane or Gladstone for repairs is expected to be made on Monday.