The MS Nordlys situation is looking up
Police have discovered a gash in the ship’s hull they had previously been unaware of.
“The situation looks brighter. The boat heeled less and took in less water,” said Olav Fjell, chief of Hurtigruten, at a press conference Friday afternoon.
But the work is far from over, says Ålesund Police Chief Jon Steven Hasseldal.
“The action is not well reported. We had just a slight setback, although it was not dramatic. Cargo room 2 is now empty, but in Cargo room 1, there is still plenty of water. We have now placed bilge pumps there. It is clear that we have not had sealed all the holes,” he said at the press conference.
He adds that Cargo Room 2 holds about 1000 cubic meters of water. “So there’s a lot to get out,” he says.
On Thursday, a fire broke out on the MS Nordlys while it was heading towards the quay in Ålesund. Thick, black smoke poured out of the ship while it was tugged into the harbor. The passengers were quickly evacuated, but two of the crew were killed and 16 people injured.
The fatalities included an 18-year-old apprentice, Steffen Ulvatne, and Geir Terje Isaksen (57), who was chief engineer on the MS Nordlys.
A colleague of the two, boatswain Tommy Didriksen, described the fire as an “inferno” at the press conference Friday afternoon.
“When that happens, it happens very quickly. There is little time to think about anything,” he said.
It is still unclear how the fire broke out, but there are indications that an explosion in the engine room was the cause of the emergency.
Thursday evening the MS Nordlys began to take in large amounts of water. The pumps failed to work quickly enough, and the ship began tilting so much that there was a danger that it would capsize. At 9 o’clock Friday morning the heel was up to 21.9 degrees.
The water intake was probably from a large gash in the hull. With daylight on Friday came the discovery of this large gash. The gash was in a very different place than the engine room, where the sealing work had already taken place.
The gash had probably occurred after the MS Nordlys docked, in that the stabilizer used to achieve stability when the ship is at sea was not withdrawn when it was towed to shore. Thus the stays crashed into the pier with great force, and caused the big gash when they broke and were torn loose from the hull. When the gash was discovered, it was easier to stabilize the ship.
The gash is 38 cm long and 8 cm high, according to police chief Hasseldal.
It was just after 9 o’clock when it was decided to send four men in the boat to try to stabilize it. They had put in more pumps and had also sealed the gash, which meant that everyone could breathe a sigh of relief.
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