On the 10th September 2009, bulk carrier MINOAN EURO (GT 35,699, DWT 64,155),
fully laden with 62,730 MT of sub-bituminous coal,
became immobilized, due to tail shaft leakage, in the Makassar Straits,
approximately 90 nautical miles NE of Samarinda, Borneo.
Tsavliris promptly dispatched the AHTS ITC CYCLONE (10,800 BHP/136 TBP) to the
assistance of the casualty, from a position about 400 nautical miles away.
ITC CYCLONE arrived on site on 13th September
and on the same day, at 20.00 hrs, commenced towage towards Manila.
On the 17th September, while the convoy was passing between Pearl Bank and Laparan Island,
the tow began to sheer very heavily due to the strong tide rips and lost control.
Side thrusters were put into operation in order to manoeuvre and to stay ahead of the tow.
The tow however made a heavy swing to port creating a fury of 270 degrees,
thus losing control and at that moment causing her port bridle leg to part.
The tow wire from the starboard side bridle leg was disconnected by the crew
while the convoy drifted back through the channel between Pearl Bank and Laparan Island
(at an approximate speed of 3 knots) due to the strong current.
Under these circumstances the tow was connected to the stern of the casualty
and the towage was recommenced towards the coast of Saban
in order to reduce the influence of the current and to clear the coral shallows.
On the 19th September the tow connection was re-established at the bow
and the tow resumed to Manila.
Tsavliris also dispatched the S/T TRABAJADOR-1 (8,200 BHP, 85 TBP) from Manila
to assist as steering tug arriving on the scene on the 20th September.
During the towage, the convoy encountered adverse weather conditions due to nearby typhoons.
The convoy arrived safely at Manila on the 24th September and anchored in Manila Bay.
Moreover, HYDREX had been contracted to carry out the replacement of tail shaft seals
by specialist divers in situ, with vessel in laden condition.
This innovative method of operating within a pressurized habitat
saved the onward towage to her destination (South Korea)
and enabled the casualty to undergo permanent repairs without dry-docking.
On the 26th September, underwater repairs were interrupted due to the typhoon KETSANA
and had to resume later.
The ITC CYCLONE was released on the 27th September at 05.30 hrs
and the TRABAJADOR-1 continued her services as a stand-by tug and as a diving support vessel.
Repairs by HYDREX were completed on the 1st October.
After successful sea trials on the 2nd October, the MINOAN EURO was
redelivered to her owners and sailed to her destination Younghung South Korea.