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Leaks Replugged - Seas Clear Around Seafresh 1

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-MSA

During yesterday's dive, the insurers/owners' salvage diving team identified two moderate leaks of diesel, and one smaller weeping hole from flanges of vent pipes aboard the Seafresh 1. By mid to late afternoon yesterday the two larger leaks had been resealed and the flange on the weeping vent tightened. It is likely that all three of these leaks were caused by the heavy seas overnight on Sunday night. Visual observation this morning showed clear seas around the Hanson Bay area with no sign of any diesel on the water.

After consultation with the dive team who carried out an extensive assessment of the vessel, it has been established that permanent metal plates can be used to replace the wooden plugs that were necessary to provide immediate stoppage of the diesel leaking from the vents after sinking. The Maritime Safety Authority has therefore decided to order these immediately, and weather permitting, they will be able to be fitted on Friday or Saturday of this week.

The plates will have to be fabricated first, a task requiring two to three days, and the MSA will contract the salvage dive team to fit them. The metal plates will have two distinct advantages. They will tightly seal the vents at deck level, eliminating the risk of their being dislodged by heavy weather, and freeing up time for proper planning of the salvage options. They will also have pre- fitted valves which will make the job of pumping the remaining oil out of the ship's tanks much easier than it otherwise would have been.

The salvage team is now in the process of developing a draft salvage plan. It is likely that it will take several days for this to be finalised, and then it must be approved by the Director of Maritime Safety. Until the plan is finalised, there will be no information on how long it will take to recover the oil from the vessel. However, based on the MSA's experience, the extraction of the oil may take a period of weeks to complete.

ends

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