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Now you see it... the bright green AQS boat is clearly visible on a photo (inset) of the Eemslift Hendrika taken yesterday, and is missing in the main photo taken today. Photographs: Norwegian Coastal Administration.
Now you see it... the bright green AQS boat is clearly visible on a photo (inset) of the Eemslift Hendrika taken yesterday, and is missing in the main photo taken today. Photographs: Norwegian Coastal Administration.

A new 24-metre aquaculture service vessel that was being transported to Norwegian ship supplier Moen Marin has fallen off the stricken cargo ship Eemslift Hendrika that is drifting in heavy seas off the coast of Norway.

The service boat was due to be the latest addition to the fleet of major Norwegian aquaculture service vessel operator AQS, which has 18 service vessels and 150 employees. The boat is still afloat, but it is not yet known whether it can be salvaged.

Hans-Petter Mortensholm, director of environmental preparedness at the Norwegian Coastal Administration, said the boat probably fell off the ship’s deck during the night.   

1.3 miles apart

“We have been in contact with the owner of the vessel in question that has fallen off, and it is now around 1.3 nautical miles from the casualty (the cargo ship). Our main focus is naturally Eemslift Hendrika,” he told Norwegian shipping website Skipsrevyen.no this afternoon.

The Eemslift Hendrika was carrying three service boats and a cabin cruiser on its deck. The Dutch freighter’s 12-strong crew were airlifted to safety yesterday after cargo shifted dangerously in the ships hold, causing it to list dangerously.

The good news from video footage taken from a Norwegian Coastal Administration aircraft is that the Eemslift Hendrika’s stability appears to be no worse than Monday. This gives hope that salvagers can manage to get a tow on board as soon the weather get better.

“The owner may have to provide additional salvage of the vessel that has fallen off,” said Mortensholm.

The most modern equipment

Ove Magne Ribsskog, communications manager at AQS, confirmed to Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site, Kyst.no, that its vessel had fallen off the freighter.

“We will lose - most likely - an important capacity in the future. The new service boat was intended to be put into the spot market for mooring services and other assignments for the aquaculture industry,” said Ribsskog. “It is equipped with the most modern mooring equipment and large cranes, and we had equipped ourselves to man it and put it into operation.”

Ribsskog says that the latest news was that the boat is floating around, and it is uncertain whether it can be salvaged or not.

“We hope for the best,” he said.

It was in September last year that AQS signed a contract with Moen Marin for the construction of the new vessel. It is a single-hulled 24m service vessel with powerful cranes and equipment for safe and efficient mooring work.

The new vessel has the same hull as AQS’s Namdal and Troll service vessels and was designed by Marin Design.

This video of the stricken cargo ship Eemslift Hendrika shows that the new vessel for AQS is gone from the deck. Video: Norwegian Coastal Administration.