A few months ago, Offshore Maritime Services were engaged to proceed to a position some 800 nm west of Cape Town, locate an ore carrier's hatch cover lost overboard. Once located, we were to secure it to prevent it sinking and then tow it back to port.
We immediately dispatched the small tug to the given location and 4 days later located the pontoon, a difficult task, due to its low freeboard and green colour.
A quick diving inspection confirmed that it should remain floating and not require our portable buoyancy aids. The long tow back to Cape Town started and took some 8 days, enduring a period of severe weather.
Great care had to be taken to ensure the survival of the pontoon, which was diving under the high swells and straining the tow gear heavily.
By this time, the ship had been forced to proceed to Coega Port in Algoa Bay, due to her deep draft.
A second tow voyage was therefore required, but could only commence a few days later, after the passage of yet another storm.
This tow took 4 days and the pontoon was safely delivered aboard the ship, to the satisfaction of all concerned.
The ship was able to resume her ballast voyage, to the entire satisfaction of Class and her Technical managers.