Yesterday a British general cargo ship, ‘Pacific Heron’, currently undergoing sea trials before heading back to the UK was intercepted by the Portuguese Navy as it tried to sail between Ponta de São Lourenço and the Desertas islands. On receiving instructions, the captain of the Pacific Heron changed course and sailed in a south-west direction.
Further reports indicate that the route taken by the ship had caused some confusion and concern, as it had already sailed along the south coast of Porto Santo, to the north of Madeira and then circled around the island to the south again, possibly as part of its sea trials as both coastal regions are very different. Furthermore, the reasons for its close proximity to the south of the island were also unknown, although when questioned, the captain of the vessel said they were undergoing sea trials.
According to the Commander of the Maritime Zone of Madeira, José Luís Guerreiro Cardoso, the Pacific Heron is a general cargo ship which can also carry nuclear waste, but was not carrying any at the time.
The freighter, built in 2008, belongs to the ‘Pacific Nuclear Transport’ Group, and was built to transport nuclear waste from power plants to processing facilities.
The ship’s current route will take her to the Canaries, up the west coast of Africa, across the Bay of Biscay and into the Irish Sea before she returns to her base in Barrow-in-Furness on the 22nd of March at 15:45.
info at madeira-weekly.com