Fukuseki destined for scrapyard

More than a year after the Japanese fishing trawler Fukuseki Maru no. 7 stranded on a reef at Durissa Bay near Rondeklip, it will finally be removed.

14 April 2019 | Accidents

Swakopmund • Erwin Leuschner

While plans are underway to remove what is left of the Fukuseki, this development comes far later than works minister John Mutorwa had wanted.

Mutorwa had set July 2018 as the deadline for the wreck to be removed.

The 49m tuna trawler ran aground at Durissa Bay during the early morning hours of 22 March 2018. The reason for the stranding is still unknown. At that time, all 24 crew members could be brought to safety with the help of a helicopter. It was also officially stated that 75 tons of tuna was on board.

In an advertisement, the attorney Mitsuhiro Toda of Toda & Co. Law Offices filed a lawsuit in the name of Fukuseki Maru no. 7, initiating a tender process to remove the trawler. Companies have until 31 May to submit their documentation.

“Shortly after the ship ran aground, Nippon Salvage Company [with the help of a tug boat] tried to remove the trawler from the reef. However, due to technical difficulties, this attempt was abandoned on 9 April,” Tado was quoted as saying in the advertisement.

A day later, on 10 April, ­Mutorwa issued an official removal order, setting a 90-day deadline.

“The owners are ordered to retrieve the shipwreck from its current position and bring it to Walvis Bay within this period and scrap it in accordance with Namibian laws,” according to the order. The order also stated that “they [the ship owners] must ensure that all necessary measures are taken to prevent marine pollution, be it oil or other hazardous substances”.

Reasons for the significant delay could not be determined at the time of going to print, because the responsible spokesman in the ministry, Julius Ngweda, was not available for comment.

According to the tendering process, towing the wreckage is not a “realistic” option. A report instead pointed to other possibilities, amongst others that the wreck should be removed piece by piece.

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