[Updated below to 01.29 21st May] Cameron Campbell – our music and motor sport editor, has just sent us this shot of the Serenissima from the Corran Halls side, showing how close inshore she is on the current state of the tide.
Iain Fulton, Press Officer of Oban Lifeboat, tells us that high tide is at 0312 tomorrow morning and says: ‘Let’s hope it doesn’t take that long!’.
They’re planning to try to refloat her when the tide is higher but not necessarily at high water.
The Serenissima is a 1960 ship, working the mouthwatering Hurtigruten working ship cruises up the Norwegian coast between 1960 and 2001 – as the MS Harald Jarl – 41 years in coastal service.
She was extensively renovated in 2003, rechristened the Andrea and served with Elegant Cruises and Blue Danube Holidays, her classic comforts providing the same sort of counterpoint to the large modern cruise ships as does our own Hebridean Princess [coincidentally in Oban Bay tonight] – although Andrea would not have been at that particular pitch of luxury.
AS the Andrea, she hosted cruises to Britain, Greenland, Norway, the Baltic, the Mediterranean and to Antarctica.
Few ships of her age are still cruising but Serenissima has been able to do so because her various owners have invested in her to keep her in good shape and compliant with today’s health and safety requirements.
In the spring of 2012, her then joint owner Serenissima Cruises, put her into another major refit which included new crew cabins, zodiac fleet, life tenders, fin stabilizers, jacuzzi, Lido bar and fitness center. She had new suites added, with balconies on upper deck and now takes 100–112 passengers in 59 cabins. She’s registered in Kingstown, Jamaica.
And sometime over the next few hours, we will hear the outcome of the effort to refloat her when the state of the tide is judged appropriate. Campbell is seeing her on AIS, still given as aground and with Oban Lifeboat staying with her.
Update 01.05 21st May: Serenissima has just been refloated off the Corran Ledge., with the Oban Lifeboat accompanying her an an anchorage.
Update 01.15: Oban Lifeboat heading back to her berth at Port Mor 0 and is showing 0 knots there at 01.18.
Update 01.25: Serenissima is not an anchor but it tootling about at low speed – 0.2-0.4 knots - in the centre of the bay, changing direction almost restively – possibly testing her steerage after the grounding and aiming to find an anchorage, on the Kerrera side of the deep channel buoys, out of the seaway of the CalMac ferries to the islands.
Update 01.29: At anchor.
Note: Photograph Campbell Cameron