Gigantic Japanese tanker gets swept onto Cascais sandbank during weekend’s storms

A massive oil tanker became grounded outside Cascais marina over the weekend, as storms lashed the country causing extensive damage, particularly to boats.

The 274-metre long Tokyo Spirit was pushed up against the bank on Saturday, unable to free itself.

Rescue vessels called in to help made a number of attempts, but weather conditions were so bad it took 24-hours before the huge ship was prepared for release with the outgoing tide.

Seven tugs under orders from a maritime salvage company succeeded in moving all the ballast from one end of the vessel, to the other, so that the weight of the boat helped pull it away from danger.

Fortunately, the whole operation went ahead without any damage to the boat’s hull and without any crude in the tanks.

If full, Tokyo Spirit could have been carrying as many of 150-tons of crude, reports national tabloid Correio da Manhã, and could have threatened environmental disaster.

Owned by Shell Trading and Shipping, Tokyo Spirit was towed to Setúbal where it will now undergo repairs.

This was “the most visible case of the storm that ripped up trees and roofs” in the central part of the country, reports CM, and which required a number of boat rescues up and down the coast.

Bad weather is forecast for much of the coming week, with a pause on Thursday only to see it return on Friday, adds the paper.

Throughout the rescue operation outside Cascais on Sunday, the 22 crew remained on board, with their captain, while hundreds of people turned up to take photographs of what was possibly the largest vessel many of them had seen ‘up close’.

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Photo by: LUSA