Two salvage tugs have been dispatched to try to save an Ultrabulk-controlled multipurpose general cargo ship in critical condition off South Africa’s west coast.

The 13,800-dwt Ultra Galaxy (built 2008) was abandoned by its crew on Monday morning after it took on a dangerous list 60 nautical miles (111 km) west of Doringbaai.

Conditions at the time included winds of up to 12 knots and swells five to six metres.

Ultrabulk CEO Hans-Christian Olesen told TradeWinds that the entire crew is safe and on shore.

“There is an ongoing salvage operation and at this point it looks promising, but the next couple of days will be decisive,” he said.

The 18 Filipino crew members were rescued from a life raft and safely transported by a fishing vessel to St Helena Bay.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority, in its latest update on the casualty on Tuesday night, said one of two tugs arrived on the scene of the casualty late on Tuesday and had begun salvage operations. A second carrying more salvage personnel and extra equipment had departed Cape Town on Tuesday night.

“With the crew safely rescued, all efforts are now fully focused on salvaging the vessel,” it added.

The Ultra Galaxy was last reported drifting towards shore, and the situation was being closely monitored.

The S&P Global International Ships Register lists the vessel as owned by Fujita Shoji of Japan, with protection and indemnity coverage provided by NorthStandard.