As you may have heard, a Taiwanese fishing boat washed up and onto the reef at Bali's famed Padang Padang a couple days go. Below is a detailed account of the efforts people have been putting into the removal of the vessel….
Report to Tipi at ISC…..This report is long winded. That is because you need to know all the detail to understand how hard we have tried to prevent an environmental catastrophe at Padang2.
Role Foundation Report………….Thursday, 17th July , 2008.
15th July 3 days after Taiwanese Fishing Boat wrecked on Padang Padang Reef
Chris Moore (Role Foundation Chairman) was contacted and Role Foundation agreed to try to spearhead the containment and removal of the wrecked ship. Chris arrive at 4pm meet with Ulu’s Johnny and other concerned surfers. It was agreed after a visual outside inspection that an early morning inspection of the boat’s diesel tanks and bilge etc by Johnny and Chris was needed. As there was diesel everywhere. Then a meeting of all concerned surfers etc would be held to get a consensus on our approach.
Chris organized a truck x 2days, 2 hand pumps and 3 x 44 gallon drums and 20 gerry cans, small ropes, used tyre inner tubes, plus a driver.
Mike O’Leary and Chris meet at 5.30 am and loaded the truck with above equipment and made our way to Padang2.
Inspection inside and then out by Ulu’s Johnny and Chris revealed there was little diesel in the tanks, but the bilge was 2-3 meters deep in a toxic mix of Oil, Diesel, fish heads etc., etc.. The guys had to paddle out on the lifesaver paddleboards as the rubber ducky engine failed at that stage. The ship was covered throughout in this toxic crap. There was no wheel, no anchor, no ropes, all equipment had been stripped, and even the starter motors were taken. The rudder was rapped tight in fishing net.
8.30 am…A general meeting was held for any person that wanted to have their say on Padang2 beach . Jason Childs, Ulu’s Johnny, Chris, Tim, Jo, the local life guards and myself all sat down. Clemens by phone. Chris talked with Martin Daley on the Indies Trader for 20 minutes. It was important to get everyones point of view, so all would feel there input was considered.
The seas had been pretty much dead calm since the wreck happened, and everyone agreed that the ship must be moved before the expected big swell hit on the following afternoon, 17th July, or there would be an environmental disaster, as the building waves would make it impossible to salvage and break the ship to pieces. The ship is positioned right in the take off zone.
The good news was the fiberglass and timber vessel was not holed. The bad news was that the toxic sludge was spilling out the gangway and leaking as the ship laying half on its’ side, rolled on the incoming tide.
There was no anchor or big enough ropes to secure the vessel.
It was decided not to attempt to pump the toxic mess out of the boat at that stage as we did not have the huge amount of equipment needed to to contain or hold the toxic mess and we would probably create a bigger problem. It was better left contained as much as possible in the ship.
It was learnt that a strong tug boat was on it’s way for the following day at high tide, coming from the restoration work in front of Kuta Reef. Chris and John were on the telephone to this Tug operator, and to the police who had taken jurisdiction over this catastrophe and help the authority. This was a crime seen.
Main points of the meeting were:- Contain the environment damage, get the ship off the reef asap, get the necessary equipment to hold the vessel in place, so it can move more over the reef. Secure a large anchor, strong ropes, pumps, etc… meet with the main player, the Indo Police and advise them on the coming swell.
The next possible time to move it, would be high tide at 10 am on 17th, the following day. We must get prepared.
At 11am that day, a supposed salvage team turned up from Jimbaran Bay fishing community. Chris went out to meet them on the wreck. They supposedly had huge flotation devises and had moved 3 to 4 vessels off reefs in the last months.
Chris and I met with the Taiwanese police. The Taiwan Captain and Crew of this ship were missing, presumed dead. The story goes: the Captain and his crew were attacked by pirates near Irian Jaya and the ship had been sailing with out any crew around in circles until it slammed onto Padang2 reef. Sounded like bullcrap to us, but who knows. There are other stories, also. The Taiwan Police were very helpful and understood our anxiety to move the vessel. They gave us the ship owners telephone number.
At 1pm, Chris and I set of to secure what we though was the vital equipment for a tug salvage and Chris was constantly in communication with the tug operator. We got a pump with only 5 meters of hose, but could not secure extra hose. We found a 100 meters of 5 centimeter rope, but we could not secure a big enough anchor at that time.
At 3 pm a meeting was called and Ulu’s Johnny went to meet the Police boss in Jimbaran Bay to sort things out. The Police must sign off on this or nothing would happen.
By 5 pm, the penny dropped. There would be no tug. The supposed Jimbaran Bay Salvage team would do the job. They would secure the vessel that night, organise the ropes and anchor, and be there at all night preparingthe vessel. They would do final preparation the next morning, and pull it off on the high tide. That was the final call, no question. The tug would not be used.
All Chris’s and my efforts to secure equipment were a waist of time, but no need to worry these Salvage guys, we were assured, were professionals after all. The money and time would not be waisted if they get the ship off the reef. All’s good.
That evening Johnny and his mate paddled out to meet the salvage team on the ship. One of the salvage team had been injured and taken to hospital, but they would be back in the morning at 6 am sharpe. They had achieved nothing. Johny had repeatedly reminded them that the ship must be moved the next morning, as the swell would arrive that afternoon, and ship could break up or become unsalvageable.
5.30 am Chris and I headed out to Padang with great expectations. We met Johnny at 6am. The morning was so calm. Oil sludge was around the ship, so Jason Chlids did a reccy on his jetski, and discovered an small oil slick from the ship south. Nearly to Ulus.
This was new……….Johny and Chris checked the ship, but the ship still remained in one piece and was not holed. Maybe these salvage guys had bailed the oil?
We waited for the Salvage Team with their 8-10 fishing boats, there flotation devises, and their know how to arrive at 6-6.30am.
Even tough they had not prepared anything over night, if they arrived now we could plan and prepare. High tide was at approximately 10am. In 3 hours.
A million phone calls later, it became apparent that there was NO salvage team coming.
Johnny took the initiative, and with Wayan the life guard(extremely helpful guy) took off on the jetski to Jimbaran bay, to sort out the Salvage Team. It became apparent at that time that this was NO salvage team, but just a group of fishermen.
They would not go on the wreck, as their friend had slipped the previous night and was in hospital.
Johnny and Clemens convinced them, that Johnny and Chris would tie off the ropes if they brought out their boats and flotation devises etc.
The tide was coming in fast.
Johnny and Wayan arrived back at Padang. It was 9am.
The fishing boats arrive one by one.
There was no time to plan much, but we still had to try.
Chris and Johnny got on the wreck.
There were no flotation devices, just a piece of styrofoam that was about as big as a car, but completely useless.
By 10.30-11 am Johnny and Chris with the help of Wayan and the Bondi team on the jetski had secured the ropes. The tide was dropping, we still had to try. Never give up, right. The boats were all in a 2 rows heading out to sea, like two straight pearl necklaces, tied together one after the other in a straight line. 4-5 boats a piece.
Chris wanted to pull the nose around, but was out voted.
Full power, but they were heading in the wrong direction and pulling against the wreck.
It took another vital 30 minutes to set them up in the right direction.
The tide was dropping. Full engines again.
Nothing moved. Not enough power, not enough flotation, not enough planning………not enough water and time.
Johnny and Chris, Wayan and all the team tried so hard and were fearless………….but it was too little, too late.
We tried again, and didn’t want to give up.
To our dismay, while we were trying to move the wreck the promised tug boat steamed past out at sea with its empty barge, off for another load of rock.
For Johnny and Clemens who were there from the start, and Chris and the Role Team it was heart break hotel.
3pm…….Ok regroup……………..big meeting at Jimbaran Bay restaurant. The wrecks owner, Indo Police and Johnny, Chris, and the Taiwan Government liaison.
They acknowledged our concerns for the environment and the rising swell.
The good news……….There will be a tug boat, the owners agree on the price etc.. there will be an attempt the next high tide tomorrow the 18th.
5 pm….Johnny organizes a meeting with the tug boat owner/captain and his crew at Padang.
The swell is starting to rise, with 4 foot sets pushing through. It is low tide, so there is limited damage from these waves on the wreck.
The tug owner/captain expresses his doubts and his crew are scared.
8-9pm, 17th received call from Chris saying the tug boat will NOT be coming to the rescue and salvage the boat. (This may change, but we doubt it.)
Role puts into place a contingency plan to clean up the break up of the wreck.
I apologise for not being able to do more, but we were hog tied with no authority, and no real say, just good intentions and a love of the place, its environment and people.
God knows we tried everything possible.
It is obvious, this types problem needs to be handled with speed at the most highest level, immediately something like this happens in future, to protect the environment, the tourist industry and the local peoples livelihood.
We will not give up just yet, and we must prepare for a clean up.
Please circulate this report to all interested parties.
Restore the balance for future generations.
(Sorry if I left anyone out, my memory isn’t so good.)
Thanks so much for everyone support and help. We are approximately Rp 8 mill in the hole, unfortunately with nothing to show for it. Any extra moneys raise will go towards Clean Up and the purchase of water testing equipment and our Marine revival programs.
International CEO and Founder
R.O.L.E. Foundation Inc
Help play a role……in creating a world without povertyand reviving the health of the environment.