Concerned Sailors Warn of Unlit Drydock Sections Floating Around Bermuda

Concerned Sailors Warn of Unlit Drydock Sections Floating Around Bermuda

Floating drydock section

June 7, 2018 by Mike Schuler

A group made of Bermuda government officials and concerned yachting professionals are warning about recent sightings of at least two large sections of an unlit dry dock reportedly floating off Bermuda.

The sections are believed to belong to a drydock formerly belonging to the former Avondale Shipyard.

The drydock left the Mississippi River yard in September under tow to the Canary Islands, but the group says that evidence suggests that tow failed, perhaps during Hurricane Irma. Only about half of the drydock arrived in the Canary Islands under tow by the tug De Zhou, which remains at anchor in the Canary Islands. 

The group is now unofficially tracking sightings of the sections so it can warn ships and mariners of the hazard to navigation.

The group recording three separate sightings in May, the most on recent occurring 26 May 2018.

Concerned Sailors Warn of Unlit Drydock Sections Floating Around BermudaDrydock sightings

Additional photos of the drydock sections: 

Concerned Sailors Warn of Unlit Drydock Sections Floating Around BermudaThe drydock prior to departing the former Avondale Shipyard on September 1, 2017.

Concerned Sailors Warn of Unlit Drydock Sections Floating Around BermudaConcerned Sailors Warn of Unlit Drydock Sections Floating Around Bermuda

Below are details and the timeline of the tow and recent sightings: 

8/30/17: Tropical Storm Irma is named by the NHC and positioned West of the Cape Verde Islands. Source: NHC and multiple news outlets 

9/1/17: The unnamed dry dock from the former Avondale Shipyard was towed down the Mississippi River from near New Orleans by the tug Pacific Dragon.  The dry dock was reportedly purchased by Palumbo Shipyards and was headed for the Canary Islands. Palumbo named the dry dock Ercolino IV and painted this name on one of the starboard wing wall tanks before departure.  Source: USCG, Twitter, and multiple news outlets.

 9/9/17: Hurricane Irma makes landfall on the northern coast of Cuba. Source: NHC  

10/3/17: 1/2 of the now split-in-two Ercolino IV dry dock is photographed in Kingston Jamaica by Francesco Ponticelli.  Other published reports say that after the dry dock split into two halves in the Gulf of Mexico, both halves were towed to Jamaica for assessment. Tug De Zhou now involved. Source: @ponticelli on Twitter, pers comm with Francesco, and Spanish language maritime news reports. 

1/6/18: I/2 of the dry dock arrives in Granadilla, Tenerife pulled by the tug De Zhou. Various reports indicate that the other half sank near Florida while presumably being towed by the tug Pacific Dragon. Source: Published reports in Spanish language maritime press 

5/9/18: JP Mybrugh on the S/Y Pearls of Nautilus saw the wing wall tank and posted three photos of it on the closed Facebook page Antigua Yacht Crew on 5/11/18. After prompting, he gives the date and lat/long as “29’47’’974 N 064’25’’098 W” which he says is solid. Source: Facebook and pers comm with JP.  

5/14/18: Hank George kindly posts information on the Salty Dog Rally Facebook page indicating that USCG (RCC, Norfolk) ran SAROPS drift forecasts on the tank using the same initial position reported by JP Mybrugh (29-deg 47.974N – 64-deg 25.098 W) but apparently used JP’s posting date of 5/11/18 not his sighting date of 5/9/18. Source: Facebook and pers comm with Hank. Speculation is mine. 

5/30/18: Dannie Evangelista on board the M/Y Sycara V posts a photo of the same wing wall tank on the closed Facebook page Boys With Boats and later supplies additional photos and the time, date and lat/long as ~1300(L) on 26MAY18 at N 28 15.548′, W 66 14.532′  Source: Facebook and pers comm with Dannie.  SOURCE: gCaptain


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