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Salvaged service boat in ‘surprisingly good’ condition

Incoming skipper Svenn Magnus Steffensen with the AQS Tor. “It looks surprisingly good, considering what the poor green boat has been through,
Incoming skipper Svenn Magnus Steffensen with the AQS Tor. “It looks surprisingly good, considering what the poor green boat has been through," he said. Photo: AQS.

A new fish farming service vessel that survived being thrown off a freighter in a storm is looking “surprisingly good” but won’t be put to work for a little while yet.

The AQS Tor must now be carefully inspected, repaired and go through new tests and approvals before it can be put into operation.

The vessel, which is owned by Scale AQ company Moen Marin, is due to join the fleet of Norwegian aquaculture service company AQS.

Washed off the deck

It was one of three service vessels being transported to Moen Marin by the Dutch cargo ship Eemslift Hendrika, which got into difficulties off the Norwegian city of Ålesund when hold cargo shifted during a storm on Monday.

The crew had to be airlifted to safety and the AQS Tor was later washed off the deck of the freighter, which was listing heavily.

“It looks surprisingly good, considering what the poor green boat has been through,” said incoming AQS skipper Svenn Magnus Steffensen.

Together with Moen Marin project manager Geir Bjørvik Johansen, Steffensen was in Florø yesterday morning to inspect the damage to AQS Tor.

Crane boom

The most visible damage is the structural damage on the starboard side, which probably occurred when the boat was thrown off the deck and hit a crane boom.

There is some damage at the stern on the port side, and the crane foundation on the starboard side has received a bang.

There is also a hole in the deck where a rail has been pushed in. Some seawater has entered the hydraulics room, but no more than 8-10 centimetres on the floor.

Divers were due to examine the boat below the waterline this morning.

‘I didn’t believe what I saw’

Steffensen has followed the construction of AQS Tor as a member of the project group and has long known that he will sign on as one of two skippers. Therefore, it was a shock to see that the freighter had a list and that AQS Tor fell off.

“I was sure that the boat had gone down, when I saw that it was missing on the cargo ship. It took about half an hour to an hour before I saw pictures of it floating. I did not believe what I saw,” said Steffensen.

“If there is no damage below the waterline, it is unbelievable how it has managed.”

‘An excellent operation’

AQS general manager Ove Løfsnæs said that further plans for the boat will be made in collaboration between Moen, insurer Gjensidige and AQS, on the basis of status on board and formal conditions such as insurance.

“We are pleased that the condition on board is good,” said Løfsnæs, who praised tugboat operator Stadt Sea Transport, captain Roman Antons and his crew on the tug Stadt Sløvåg for their efforts to save AQS Tor.

“They have done a fantastic job and should have a big thank you for an excellent operation,” said Løfsnæs.

Robust vessel

Moen Marin’s Johansen said that - considering the circumstances - it was a great relief to see that the AQS Tor is at the quay and is in such a condition.

“The boat has of course been exposed to great forces as it has been ‘launched’ in a very special way and put out on a sea trial far beyond the normal,” he said.

“Considering the limited damage we have verified during the day and the good seaworthiness the boat has, I am confident that the company will get a robust vessel that will serve them well for several years to come.”

He also praised the efforts and expertise that have been exercised by the rescue service and rescue crews in the very dramatic situation.

“Thank you to everyone involved and not least AQS who have been optimistic and positive throughout the process,” said Johansen.