THE owners of the Kiani Satu have been instructed to move the vessel more than 200 nautical miles (370km) off the South African coast within the week, after it was successfully refloated on Saturday.
German owners Esmeralda Schiffahrts were given formal instructions by the SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) late yesterday about the next steps in the salvage drama after the 168m rice carrier ran aground off Buffels Bay near Knysna on August 8.
Samsa's Captain Nigel Campbell said he had instructed the owners to first source a commercial tug to move the vessel – which was about 30 nautical miles (55.5km) off the coast by yesterday afternoon – about 150 nautical miles (277km) from shore.
"This is to ensure that if things go pear-shaped and she sinks, she would be in deep enough water," he said.
The owners will have to tow the vessel more than 200 nautical miles beyond South African waters in terms of international maritime convention.
"They [the owners] then have to decide where they would want to take the vessel. It is up to them." Despite very rough sea conditions and strong wind, the vessel began moving out to sea at 11.20am.
With the cold front came a big swell which helped lift the ship off the sand as it was being towed.
"There is also no major spillage at this stage, the amount of oil in the water around the ship is negligible."
There is also no oil leaking from the damaged tank, through which more than 15 tons of oil had landed in the ocean.
Clean-up operations will start as soon as the weather clears.