Enroute from Gijon to Rotterdam with a cargo of 2.000 tons steel plates and a crew of seven on board, the "Eems Traveller" reported engine failure to the CROSS Corsen on Dec 7, 2017, at 11.14 a.m. 18 miles off Ouessant. The ship was drifting towards the rocks of Portsall in a distance of 15 miles of the coast. While the crew tried to repair the proulsion damage, the Maritime Prefecture of the Atlantic ordered the emergency tug "Abeille Bourbon" at 12.10 p.m. to sail to Ouessant and position itself near the ship. The tug had been prepositioned due to a reinforced weather alert at Camaret the day before at 3:45 p.m. by the Maritime Prefecture.
At 12:50 p.m., in regard of the inability of the crew to repair the damage, the owner of the "Eems Traveler" contracted Abeilles International for towing the ship to Brest. The "Abeille Bourbon" managed to take the ship on tow at 3:42 p.m. despite difficult weather conditions with winds of seven Beaufort and a high swell. The convoy arrived in port on Dec 8 at 12.15 a.m., and the freighter was safely berthed at the Quay Armand Considère in the commercial port to carry out the necessary repairs. She left the commercial port after repairs on Jan 11 at 7.15 p.m. bound to Gorinchem, ETA Jan 14.
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On Dec 7, 2017, the "American Contender" took over the towage of the wreck of the longliner "Pacific Paradise"W hich had run agound off Oahu on Oct 10, for the transit out to an EPA-approved disposal site 13 miles south of Oahu in federal waters. The responders prepared the sinking the "Pacific Paradise" in nearly 1,800 feet of water, which took several hours. The longliner finally foundered within one minute.
Response crews had refloated the "Pacific Paradise" on Dec 6 and moved the vessel about 600 feet into the sandy channel before losing the tide. Crews conducted additional work to the vessel late in the day to prepare for the refloat and tow the next day. That effort was ultimately successful in fully removing the vessel at 7:15 a.m. on the high tide using the tug "Pi’ilani".
The State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources assumed the lead as the coordinating agency to work with the owner of the "Pacific Paradise" to conduct cleanup of the wreck site as the pollution threat has been removed. The state will assess any damage done to the reef and facilitate the next step in mitigating the impacts and rehabilitating the reef.
The salvage efforts were complex, and with the addition of unpredictable ocean conditions, the position, size and weight of the ship on the reef, and its proximity to one of Hawaii’s most populated beach areas, it was important that we all worked together to remove the ship while minimizing risk to people and to the environment. DLNR was conducting a full assessment of the reef and any associated natural resource damage that occurred during the event.
During the operation to refloat and remove the grounded vessel minimal pollution entered the water.
Since the grounding, local and mainland experts have worked diligently to remove the vessel as quickly and safely as possible with the least amount of impact to the marine environment. Responders spent the past weeks preparing and patching the hull, removing excess weight by pumping water and removing heavy spare parts including sheet metal and the rudder and adding additional buoyancy. The challenging environment and weather did slow or delay some work.
The Coast Guard was continuing the investigation into the cause of the grounding. That process will likely take several months. Once complete those findings will be released to the public and action will be taken to levee any fines or punitive actions that may be deemed appropriate.
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Research vessel found first US ship to fire a shot in WW II
A deep sea exploration mission funded by billionaire Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen has found five Japanese naval ships that sunk during World War II in the southern Philippines, the team’s leaders said on Dec 7, 2017, aboard the "Petrel", which on Dec 3 had docked in Suriago on the northernmost tip of Mindanao island, the team presented images of what are believed to be wrecks of the Japanese warships "Yamashiro", "Fuso", "Yamagumo", "Asagumo" and "Michishio" found between Nov. 22 and 29 on the seabed in the Surigao Strait.
The five were among seven Imperial Japanese Navy ships that took part in the Battle of Surigao Strait from late at night on Oct. 24 until before sunrise on Oct. 25, 1944.
Although greatly outnumbered, the Japanese vessels engaged in a ship-to-ship battle with the U.S. and Australian naval forces seeking to wrest control of the Philippines from Japan. Some 4,000 Japanese combatants perished in that battle. The Fuso-class dreadnought battleships "Yamashiro" and "Fuso" were found upside down, with the former mostly intact and the latter broken.
The Asashio-class destroyers "Asagumo" and probable "Michishio" were found intact, while the probable "Yamagumo", a destroyer of the same class, was severed into two. Wrecks suspected to be the "Yamagumo" and "Michishio", which were 2 kilometers apart at the same latitude, were found in shallower areas of just above 100 meters depth. The research team explained they could not ascertain positive identification of the "Yamagumo" and "Michishio" due to their identical features. The three other vessels were submerged some 200 meters deep. The ships were in very poor condition, obviously, because of what happened to them. And the overgrowth is very prolific. They now provide a fantastic marine habitat. Since the exploration was only external, no interior images of the ships were generated.
No remains of Japanese sailors were found, either. The data was to be provided to Japan’s National Institute of Defense Studies in Tokyo, and to the Kure Maritime Museum, also known as the Yamato Museum, in the Hiroshima Prefecture.
The team did not remove anything from the sites asthese ships are war graves, so they need to be treated with due respect to these brave men that served on these ships and perished there.
After the Surigao Strait expedition, the survey mission proceeded to nearby Ormoc Bay where it found the wreckages of two U.S. Navy destroyers, the USS "Ward" and the USS "Cooper", in waters some 250 meters deep. USS "Ward" was the U.S. Navy destroyer that fired the first American shot in World War II.
On Dec 1, 2017, the expedition crew sent its ROV to explore and document the remains of the vessel. The Wickes-class destroyer serving the U.S. Navy, had been patrolling the Pearl Harbor entrance on the morning of Dec 7, 1941, when the Officer-of-the-Deck spotted an 80-foot-long, midget submarine, trailing the USS "Antares" into the harbor. The USS Ward accelerated to bear down on the submarine. Just three minutes after first sight of the submarine, the USS "Ward" fired the first American shot in World War II.
The submarine the crew sank was one of five top secret Japanese vessels, each armed with two torpedoes that intended to penetrate the harbor under cover of darkness before the attack began. The enemy air attack on Pearl Harbor, and throughout Oahu, started about an hour after the USS "Ward" sank the midget submarine.
On Dec 7, 1944, three years to the day, the USS "Ward" was lost after coming under attack by several kamikazes. She had been patrolling Ormoc Bay off the island of Leyte, serving as a high-speed transport for troops. She was hit at the waterline amidships by one of the attacking kamikaze. Unable to extinguish the resulting fire that was now consuming the ship, the crew was ordered to abandon ship.
She was soon scuttled by an accompanying ship, the USS "O’Brien" with commanding officer Lt. Cmdr. William Outerbridge, who had been in command of the USS "Ward" during the attack on Pearl Harbor three years earlier. Only one USS "Ward" crew member was injured throughout the day’s events.
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