10 May 2023

Whoops! Navy called in after bauxite ship crashes

| Matt Nicholls
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A BULK carrier loaded with Cape York bauxite came close to disaster last week after hitting an uncharted reef on the Indonesian-West Papua coast.

The MV Indian Partnership, which was en route to China from Skardon River, hit the reef on April 23 and had to make its way to shallow water for inspection and repairs.

Images released by the Indonesian Navy show the vessel leaning heavily to one side and in danger of going under.

The vessel is UK-flagged and operated by Zodiac Maritime.

In a statement, the company said it had sent divers to the ship’s location.

“The Zodiac Maritime operated vessel Indian Partnership, in the Ceram Sea, while on course to China carrying bauxite ore, hit an uncharted reef which pierced her forward ballast tanks on the starboard side,” it said.

“After hitting the reef, the vessel proceeded under her own power to shallow water near Misool Island, Indonesia where she is now safely afloat.

“Water ingress was contained to the ballast tanks.

“Divers are at the vessel now and are conducting underwater repairs. The vessel is stable.

“The mixed nationality crew of 22 are all safe and unharmed.

“There is no pollution. The crew on board, with support from our shore based teams, are working closely with local authorities.”

Metro Mining, which produced and loaded the bauxite onto the vessel, said there was no concern for shareholders.

“Metro Mining informs the market that the bauxite cargo vessel Indian Partnership was recently loaded at Skardon River with 178,087mt of bauxite,” the company said in a statement.

“The cargo is sold under irrevocable letter of credit. The cargo is insured and Metro, customer and vessel owners are in contact.

“Metro assures the market should there be delayed payment for the cargo, it will not have any material risk on the company’s finances.

“The owners are not currently able to estimate when the vessel will be repaired and be able to re-commence the voyage to China until divers have completed their investigations.”

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