MEDIA RELEASE – ‘SELI 1’
10 May 2010
SELI 1 WRECK REMOVAL
As was reported by this office in November 2009, the SELI 1 was extensively damaged by late winter
storms last year despite efforts to strengthen her, which seriously compromised any simple salvage
Since that time, a small but determined group with a desire to remove the vessel from the Cape
shoreline, despite the lack of direct funding, has been attempting to keep the momentum of the project
going by every means at their disposal.
The coal removal phase has now been all but completed with approximately 21000 tonnes of the 30000
tonnes originally in the vessel having been removed and sold to a distributor ashore. The current bad
weather has substantially damaged the equipment used to discharge the coal and the operation will not
be resumed as the cost of reinstating the equipment is far too expensive for the return on cost.
In addition the facilities aboard will no longer safely and hygienically support the team of “coal
miners” and SMIT personnel aboard as well as the fact that the cranes have deteriorated over time,
having delivered beyond expectations during the extended coal removal operation.
A recent surge of hope and enthusiasm for a refloating attempt, despite the predictions made in
November, were dashed when the highly professional Naval Architects and Salvage Masters of SMIT
did the calculations of the stresses and strains which would be placed on the SELI 1 in her present
seriously damaged condition and predicted a 90% chance of failure. Given the accuracy of their
predictions on the spectacular wreck reduction of the barge Margaret in Jacobs Bay, we have had to
put that methodology to bed once and for all.
Nevertheless no-one has conceded defeat yet and the team will continue to work towards the eventual
removal of the SELI1.
Once the current storm has subsided, the condition of the wreck will be evaluated and a decision will
be made on whether we will continue any wreck reduction activities over the winter period or whether
the vessel will be closed down for the rest of winter pending a new operation in summer.
Small pockets of oil remain trapped within the wreck and are released from time to time through
cracks in the hull, especially when there is appreciable swell and wave action. Regardless of whether
the operation is temporarily suspended or not, SMIT will continue to monitor the structure of the
wreck as well as the oil pollution threat and will remove any oil which presents itself in an accessible
space onboard the wreck.
Unfortunately this storm has dislodged equipment from the SELI 1 and local bathers should be aware
that floating debris may still be afloat and pose a danger to swimmers and surfers. The wreck itself is
more dangerous than ever and no one may board the vessel without the express permission of SAMSA