In late July the 18,000-tonne oil products tanker Phoenix ran aground about 30 miles from Durban, on South Africa’s east coast. The 34-year-old ship, formerly Consel Pride, was heading from Lagos to scrapping yards in India with a skeleton crew of 15. About 11 miles off the coast she broke down and called for emergency tug assistance, and the salvage tug Smit Amandla was sent to tow her to Durban, but she was refused entry to the port for pollution reasons.

While she was anchored off South Africa, a storm forced the ship ashore and she ran aground at Sheffield Beach. Attempts to refloat the vessel initially failed, but in early September she was freed and pulled clear by two salvage tugs. Phoenix had a large hole in her engine room hull and was in a poor condition, so no attempt was made to save the vessel, which was instead scuttled in deep water.

The sinking involved pumping the ship’s hold with sea water, after which the salvage crew transferred to the salvage tugs, and at 0944 on 6 September the last four salvage crew members were taken off and Phoenix sunk three minutes later. The clean-up costs have been estimated at over $4.2 million and the wreck removal between $30 and $50 million.

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