The semi-submersible heavy transport vessel Mighty Servant 3 developed a list and sank off the coast of Angola on Dec. 6, following the unloading of its cargo, the semi-submersible drilling platform Aleutian Key.
The crew was rescued before the ship sank. No one was injured.
Mighty Servant 3 sank approximately one mile offshore near the entrance to the port of Luanda in approximately 200 feet of water.
When the ship is unloading cargo, it deliberately takes on water to lower its main deck below the surface, so that the cargo can float free. Mighty Servant 3 had just unloaded the rig, which remained nearby but clear of the ship, according to Jacqueline van den Bergen, spokeswoman for Dockwise Shipping B.V., the Dutch company that owns the ship. Mighty Servant 3 continued to slip lower in the water after the unloading and eventually sank.
In accordance with the company’s safety procedures for operations that involve submerging the deck, all of the 23 crewmembers had already gathered forward at the highest point on the vessel.
The crewmembers of Mighty Servant 3 were taken off the vessel by one of the supporting vessels before the ship sank. They were transported to the Port of Luanda. The 83 crewmembers of the drilling platform were safely aboard Aleutian Key before the incident occurred. There were no injuries reported on either vessel.
Dockwise Shipping has contracted SMIT Salvage of the Netherlands to raise the ship. Van den Bergen said it won’t be possible to determine the cause of the accident until the vessel has been refloated.