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M/V Springbok Vs. LPG Carrier M/T Gas Roman

Feature Date: May, 2003

Event Date: February 27, 2003

Countryman & McDaniel

 The Air & Ocean Logistics- Customs Broker Attorneys

"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"

On The Scene -- at Singapore!

 The 2003 Countryman & McDaniel

Cargo Nightmare 4th Place Prize Winner

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On The Scene At Singapore

In The South China Sea

February 27 2003

M/V Springbok Vs. LPG Carrier M/T Gas Roman

The Cargo Nightmare 4th Place Prize Winner

The Time: 12.06 am LT

The Date: February 27 2003

The Place: Approach To Singapore

"T-Bone" (te bone) A NOUN

"A thick porterhouse steak taken from the small end of the loin & containing a T-shaped bone.

Also called "T-bone steak."

ALSO A VERB - "The action of one conveyance striking another conveyance at a perfect angle of 90 degrees."

Here The "T-Bone" Was On The Late Watch For Two Merchants

M/V Springbok Vs. M/T Gas Roman

Vessel: M/T Gas Roman

Built: 1990

Registry: Panama

Vessel Type: LPG Gas Carrier

Tonnage: 55,000 dwt

Length: 230 Meter

Beam: 36.60 Meter

Injuries: 0

Cargo: 44,000 cbm of natural gas

Trade Lane: Kuwait for discharge in South Korea

Vessel: M/V Springbok

Built: 1979

Registry: Singapore

Vessel Tyupe: Timber Carrier

Tonnage: 15,000 dwt

Length: 144 Meter

Beam: 20.40 Meter

Injuries: 1

Cargo: 4000 cbm of sawned timber

Trade Lane: Sarawak for discharge in South Africa

PROLOG >> It's early Thurs., 27 Feb. 2003 -- just after midnight -- two merchants are 31km - N.E. of the Horsburgh Lighthouse on Pedra Branca, as M/V Springbo & M/T Gas Roman approach the mega-port of Singapore.

It's all quiet on the two command bridges -- perhaps some coffee is served for the late watch. All bridge officers & crew are mindful that they are crossing an area of recent, fateful history -- a tragic loss
-- they are just 37km from the spot of the RSS Courageous tragedy only one month earlier --

-- also occurring in the dead of night, early on Jan 3, 2003.

FROM: The Cargo Letter -- "Singapore Navy 500gt anti-submarine patrol RSS Courageous (built 1996) & merchant M/V ANL Indonesia, for South Korea, in collision off Pedra Branca, an islet claimed by both Singapore & Malaysia late Jan, 3 -- injuring 8 navy crew & trapping 4 in warship sleeping quarters located aft where most severe damage sustained. Efforts ongoing to free 4 female cew sleeping in quarters at time of collision. Situation does not look good. One body found." (Fri. Jan. 3 2003) (UPDATE>> The 4 trapped, died -- loss of 4 women navy personnel. Sat. Jan. 4 2003)

After Paying Their Respects, The Bridge Crews of M/V Springbo & M/T Gas Roman Returned To Their Late Watch Work --

THEN -- in the dead quiet of that late watch cup of coffee --

FIRST the deafening sound of metal hulls crushing into each other.

THEN -- a jolting shock greater than an earthquake -- smashes the crews against steel.

Sounds & violence that will probably stay in the minds of the crews of these vessels forever.

M/T Gas Roman collided bow on 90 degrees into the portside of the No 4 cargo hold of M/V Springbok just feet away from the superstructure. It was an exact 90 degrees "T" in shape.

M/V Springbok suffered massive damage to her mid-section near crew's quarters at No. 4 cargo hold.

Damage is severe & the ships are still stuck to each other, leaving salvage experts to ponder how to separate the ships. The M/T Gas Roman's bulkhead appeared to be fused to the mid-section of M/V Springbok.

How was that last cup of watch coffee?

M/V Springbok was laden with 4000 cbm of sawned timber from Sarawak for discharge in South Africa, while M/T Gas Roman carried 44,000 cbm, of gas from Kuwait to Korea.

Semco Salvage & Marine PTE Ltd was awarded the LOF 2000 salvage on same day as the crash -- 27 Feb. 2003 -- by owners of M/V Springbok, Kudu Shipping. On receiving this news the 3000 hp salvage tug M/V Salvirile was immediately despatched to the location about 16nm NE of the Horsburgh Lighthouse.

SMIT Salvage was awarded the LOF 2000 salvage by owners of M/T Gas Roman the following morning, Feb. 28 2003.

NOTE: In this early 27 Feb photo, M/T Gas Roman is seen making turns in an attempt to withdraw -- but she is quite stuck.

One week after the collision, both ships are still stuck together & drifting in the vicinity of the South China Seas. Both crews were unhurt & have been evacuated. The salvage teams are now faced with a complex situation.


The 2 salvage companies, Semco Salvage & Marine Pte Ltd and SMIT Salvage BV, have been given a 'blank check to perform salvage operations -- but they will only be paid if the operations are successful.

With the bow of M/T Gas Roman impaled almost midway to the centreline, the salvage team led by senior salvage master Capt Dave Betts knew that any separation without properly stabilizing M/V Springbok would only invite disaster, in that the vessel could well capsize. Stability calculations done later confirmed that this would be the case if the Gas Roman was pulled out. In any case, it was found that the bottom plating of the Springbok had sliced through into the bulbous bow of M/T Gas Roman.

The timber cargoes from M/V Springbok Nos 2, 3 & 5 holds were discharged onto deck cargo barge Sea Conquest. Two gangs of stevedores were mobilized from Singapore to the location to assist. With the lower holds of 2 & 3 found flooded with contaminated fuel water, salvage divers were sent into these holds to patch up the leaks on the bulkhead separating them.

The two vessels (still connected T ñ shape) vessels were allowed to drift southwards towards more sheltered waters, finally arriving at location east of Pulau Binting, in Lat 00 43 North Long 104 38 East, where conditions for safe discharge work and separation could be met. This condition where safe separation could be met was reached in the early afternoon of 2 Mar 2003 at about 1345 hrs Singapore time. The separation operation was completed after the successful offloading & patching (the mounting of steal plates onto the damaged hull) activities onboard the Springbok. All work was performed under close guidance of a marine chemist. Both vessels separated rather easily and there was no pollution although pollution control measures were taken.

Over the next 3 days, work was focus on temporarily strengthening the damaged hold of the Springbok with 3 x 75 ft 12 - "I" beams across it including laying of a 12m x 2m steel fencing across the gaping hold to keep the cargo inside from coming out during the voyage to Singapore.

Now, time for another cup of coffee, or someting quite stronger.

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs brokerIt's dangerous out there.


Horsburgh Lighthouse
Horsburgh Lighthouse Tide Predictions

Semco Salvage & Marine PTE Ltd

SMIT Salvage - 160 years of service

SMIT Salvage participated in raising & salavage ofthe Russian nuclear submarine Kursk from May 18 to Oct.23, 2001

Specical Smit Salvage page for this loss

The following Semco vessels & Personnel Were Involved In This Salvage :

Salvage tugs M/V Salvirile & M/V Salvalet

Tug M/V Greenville 16

Assist tugs M/V Salvictor 6 & M/V Salvictor 7

Accommodation / Cranebarge L88

Flat top barge L65

Deck cargo barge Sea Conquest

Fast launch Salvern

The salvage team of Semco Salvage & Marine PTE Ltd was led by senior salvage master Capt Dave Betts, assisted by salvage masters Mr. Then Divet & Mr. Mike Toh and also a team of divers & riggers.

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NOTE: Please Provide Us With Your Additional Information For This Loss.

EDITOR'S NOTE FOR SURVEYORS, ATTORNEYS & MARINE ADJUSTERS: The Internet edition effort of The Cargo Letter now celebrates it's 8th Year of Service -- making us quite senior in this segment of the industry. We once estimated container underway losses at about 1,500 per year. Lloyd's put that figure at about 10,000 earlier this year. Quite obviously, the reporting mechanism for these massive losses is not supported by the lines. News of these events is not posted to the maritime community. Our new project is to call upon you -- those handling the claims -- to let us know of each container loss at sea-- in confidentiality. Many of you survey on behalf of cargo interests with no need for confidentiality. Others work for the lines & need to be protected. As a respected Int'l publication, The Cargo Letter enjoys full press privileges & cannot be forced to disclose our sources of information. No successful attempt has ever been made. If a personal notation for your report is desired -- each contributor will be given a "hot link" to your company Website in each & every report. Please take moment & report your "overside" containers to us. If you do not wish attribution, your entry will be "anonymous." This will will benefit our industry -- for obvious reasons! McD

NOTE: The Cargo Letter wants you to know that by keeping the identity of our contributors 100% Confidential, you are able to view our continuing series of "Cargo Disasters." Our friends send us materials which benefit the industry. The materials are provided to our news publication with complete and enforceable confidentiality for the sender. In turn, we provide these materials to you.  

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