The Amakusa Island may be at Northland Terminal until the end of the month.

The Amakusa Island may be at Northland Terminal until the end of the month.

Amakusa Island repairs taking longer than expected

Repairs to the Amakusa Island are taking longer than anticipated.

Repairs to the Amakusa Island, a bulk carrier that ran aground off of Ridley Island more than a month ago, are taking longer than anticipated.

While originally expected to be complete in about 15 days, delays in welding work have extended the Amakusa Island’s stay in Prince Rupert.

“The crew continues to work around the clock, seven days a week. But it’s a very large job and challenging to weld under water,” said Michael Gurney, manager of corporate communications for the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

Required work has pushed the expected completion date of welding until later this week, but Gurney said the crew is making headway.

The 228-metre bulk carrier ran aground on July 14 while shifting from berth at Ridley Terminals Inc. to its assigned anchorage.

During the incident, the Amakusa Island acquired a gash on its starboard side of the hull below the waterline and began to take on water.

Closing the vessel’s water-tight compartments prevented more water from being taken on, however it was determined patch work was needed before it could sail back to its destination.

The carrier was moved to Northland Terminal on July 23 for repairs, with a welding crew beginning underwater work to the hull.

After the hull’s exterior has been corrected, the vessel’s ballast compartments will be pumped so the extent of internal damage can be evaluated.

“That internal repair work may be undertaken at Northland Terminal, as well … they’ll assess whether it can proceed to its destination in its current state,” said Gurney.

“If indeed they go ahead with internal repairs, we could see the Amakusa Island here until at least the end of August.”

While the vessel is loaded with 80,000 metric tonnes of coal, no environmental contamination has been reported.

Transport Canada continues to investigate the cause of the grounding, and once complete will make an official determination.