Padang Padang’s new resident shipwreck is now off the surfing reef and wedged into the rocks facing the surf break. Daily physical efforts from Bali-based ROLE Foundation, GUS Foundation, Rip Curl, and a crew of volunteers have been concentrated on the low tides, the only time the ship is safely accessible on dry reef.
The good news is most hazardous materials like oil, diesel, and loose bits of boat have been removed and hauled away. Concerned divers have cleaned the underwater reef of fishing hooks, sharp gaffs, wires, nets, pieces of metal and other dangerous shrapnel from the wreck.
The bad news is that the ship’s 100ft+ fiberglass frame could start breaking off at a faster rate with each new swell, further polluting the surrounding areas. Gaping holes are already ripped into the boat’s bottom, meaning that any attempts to pull it off the reef would result in the ship sinking like a rock.
Apparently the ship had broken all contact for about a month before the wreck, its whereabouts and intentions unknown. Police are on the lookout for the crew. As we know, the ship wrecked on the opening ceremony night for the Rip Curl Cup at Padang Padang late last Friday night, choosing its final berth not far below the judging tower and contest lookout.
The next step will be to break apart the boat and crane lift the pieces onto the cliff. Once the boat is gone the plan is to scrub the rocks and reef clean of its oil layer from the wreck. The original idea was to drag the intact ship off by tugboat while the swell was flat and the tide was high.
The Indonesian Water Police showed up instead with the an armada of local fishing vessels and tried in vain to remove the beached boat. The next day the forecasted swell hit and the ship, battered continuously by the rising waves, was dragged over the reef and into the rocks where it rests today in its tattered state.
The reef seems to be in good shape despite the drama and ship scratches on its surface. Padang Padang’s legendary wave appears to be peeling without trouble following the wreck gouging through the break’s reef. The ecosystem has been rattled, but can be restored providing there is no further pollution.
On a different level of relief, the Rip Curl Cup is still ON, perhaps even this Friday the 25th with a forecasted monster swell due that day, with or without its front-row shipwreck spectator. The Rip Curl Asia crew in Bali has been dedicating extra time and energy since day one of this crazy mishap.
In fact, they were the initial proactive members trying to figure out how to tread between coherent thought and bureaucratic fine lines in order to restore Padang Padang to its pristine state. Jeff Anderson, CEO of Rip Curl Asia, assures that Rip Curl will encourage and support the removal of the wreck until the problem is solved. Taking on such an unusual incident is proving to be truly testing of even the most connected individuals in Indonesia.
A special thanks is due to the ROLE and GUS Foundations, ISC, Surfer Girl, Tim Russo, Mike O’Leary, Jon Huberman, Clemens Berger, Chris Moore, Steve Palmer, Padang Padang Lifeguards, and all the local and visiting volunteers that are helping with this matter. Donations are much appreciated and needed as work cannot go on with public interest alone. Your support can be made through the ROLE website by clicking on Donate Now.