Case Study 3MSC Lugano Stranding

The MSC Lugano is a 240 m container ship which was en route from Adelaide in South Australia to Fremantle in Western Australia. On the 31st of March 2008 it was disabled by an engine room fire and as a result, was in jeopardy of grounding off Esperance, Western Australia.

Three tugs from nearby Esperance were called in to provide assistance, whilst another larger and better equipped tug was en route from Fremantle. The tugs took

Table 25.2 Metocean forecast products used during the Montara well head blowout for oil spill

forecast modelling

Start

End

Days

Wind

Current

21/08/2009

30/10/2009

10

GFS

GLSA+Tides

30/08/2009

27/10/2009

57

GFS

BLUElink+Tides

27/10/2009

06/11/2009

10

GFS

NCOM+Tides

06/11/2009

11/11/2009

5

GFS

GSLA+Tides

11/11/2009

23/11/2009

12

GFS

BLUElink+Tides

Fig. 25.4 Snap shot of surface currents off Esperance Western Australia

the MSC Lugano in tow however they were not designed or equipped for deep ocean towing and ran into difficulty off Pt D'Entrecastreux whilst on a passage northward to Fremantle. The vessels were not making any headway due to very high surface current speeds and were at risk of losing the tow (Australian Transport Safety Bureau 2009).

The Western Australian authorities advised the vessels to proceed further offshore into deeper water in an attempt to avoid the high current speeds and coastal hazards. However consensus ocean current forecast data (NCOM and BLUElink) indicated stronger currents offshore when compared to inshore. Upon further inspection of the forecast currents it was deemed that the tow remain closer to the shore in the more favorable current conditions. The tow was successfully completed on the 13 th of April 2008. Figure 25.4 below shows a snap shot of the surface currents in the region at the time of the towing. Note the stronger southerly currents offshore of Cape Leeuwin, compared to the currents closer inshore to Cape Leeuwin.

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