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21 June 1999 – United Arab Emirates
The oil slick that has hit most parts of Kalba has reached the coastline of Khor Fakkan in the eastern part of the United Arab Emirates, the Sharjah-based Arabic daily Al Khaleej said yesterday. According to the paper, the oil slick, which has covered a large part of the area's territorial waters in the fishing areas, has robbed the local fishermen of their means of livelihood. The oil slick, which is said to have been caused by oil tankers cleaning up in the country's territorial waters, has damaged the fishing nets of a number of local fishermen, who complained about the heavy losses they have incurred due to the slick. Commenting on the issue, director of the Khor Fakkan port, Mohammed Karim said that the pollution was yet to reach the port or the fishermen's port, which are natural habitats for fish. He said that they are doing everything possible to resolve the problem, "however, the tankers washed up their tanks far off from our terntorial waters only to be washed ashore by the strong current," he added.
28 June 1999 – Bashkortostan, Russia
A report from ITAR-TASS news agency, dated June 18, states: The spill from an oil main in Bashkortostan on June 12 has proved more extensive than initially estimated, the chief of the regional emergencies ministry, Rustem Khamitov, said after inspecting it on the ground. He said today that over 400 tonnes of oil had spilled into a river alone and much of it had evaporated, dissolved in the water and drifted down the river over a week since the accident. A 500-strong clean-up team is on scene working and a lot of oil-collecting equipment is concentrated at the accident site.
28 June 1999 – Port Stanvac, Australia
Twenty-five thousand litres of crude oil spilt from ship discharge facility at Port Stanvac pm, June 28. Clean-up in progress using booms and dispersant.
29 June 1999 – Preliminary investigations have cleared m tanker Chanda of blame for a 1.5km-long oil slick threatening beaches at Adelaide. Environment Protection Authority investigators have dismissed suggestions that a floating hose connecting the vessel to Adelaide's Mobil oil refinery was responsible, and are now concentrating inquiries on the refinery's internal operations. Almost 100 EPA and other officials are trying to disperse the 25,000 litres of crude and stop it contaminating the nearby shore.
Emergency response crews have spent much of today attempting to recover or disperse a 1km-long oil slick that was formed south of Adelaide. The leak of 25,000 "tonnes" (? litres) of crude oil occurred after m tanker Chanda (80,569 gt, built 1992) had completed discharging oil through a floating hose system at the offshore oil refinery at Port Stanvac. Mobil Oil Australia has begun a full investigation into the leak, but said it appeared the Essar Shipping vessel was not the cause of the spill. Although the slick was only 3km from the coast of South Australia, no oil has yet washed up on the beaches.
2 July 1999 – Mobil Refining Australia Pty Ltd said today it estimated about 270 cubic metres of oil had spilt this week off its Port Stanvac refinery in Adelaide, more than ten times its earlier estimation of 25 cubic metres. Mobil said earlier estimates of the size of the spill at an offshore mooring on Monday (June 28) were based on aerial reconnaissance, command centre observations and independent assessment. Mobil said earlier today the spill, which occurred after m tanker Chanda had completed discharge, was expected to cost the company about A$1 million. Mobil spokeswoman Samantha Potts said the refinery had been unable to resume the discharge of crude oil at its marine unloading facilities since Monday. "We cannot discharge crude but there has been no impact on operations, we have maintained production and we have just run down crude we have got in storage," Potts said. She said Port Stanvac, which has a crude production capacity of 70,000 barrels a day, had another seven or eight days cover of stored crude, and hoped to have its mooring system back in operation within that time frame. Two vessels, m tankers Chanda and Nassau Spirit, were waiting off the South Australian coast to discharge further supplies as soon as operations could resume, she said. Mobil has said it believes the main cause was a failure of a specialised breakaway coupling, a safety component of the floating hose system used to discharge crude from a ship. An inquiry into the spill will begin next week by Transport SA, the maritime safety authority in the state.
6 July 1999 – The Environment Protection Authority says it will explore all avenues that might lead to a prosecution over last week's 270,000-litre oil spill that came ashore on southern beaches. As community pressure for tough action mounted yesterday, the EPA's chairman, Mr Stephen Walsh, also promised immediate results from the joint investigation by Transport SA and the EPA. Initial findings are expected to be revealed on Thursday (July 8). "We're not going to leave any stone unturned," Mr Walsh said. His determination came amid concerns for bird life in the Silver Sands, Aldinga Beach and Sellicks Beach areas affected by last Monday's (June 28) spill during unloading operations at Adelaide's Port Stanvac oil refinery. An oil-soaked seagull which could not fly was found at Aldinga beach yesterday and was being treated by RSPCA officers last night. The RSPCA's marine rescue unit leader, Mr Mick Jones, said he believed the bird would survive. But he was worried other birds affected by oil could drown or die from swallowing oil when they tried to clean their feathers. The EPA has called in two marine biologists one from the University of Adelaide and one from Flinders University to evaluate any damage to the foreshore and Aldinga Reef. They have been collecting samples of water, sand and seaweed. If the investigation leads to the EPA recommending prosecution, the legal process could span several years. Local residents say the clean-up operation has not been entirely successful. Mr Kingsley Tonkin, of Aldinga Beach, said there were still large patches of oil along the coastline. "Little slicks are all over the joint," he said. Meanwhile, the unloading of crude oil has resumed at Port Stanvac, with m tanker Nassau Spirit the first to send crude oil ashore since the latest spill. Mobil Australia has blamed the spill on the failure of a safety coupling on a floating hose system during a ship-to-shore crude oil transfer. Nassau Spirit yesterday used the same floating hose system minus safety coupling. M tanker Chanda, which was discharging crude oil when the 270,000-litre spill occurred, will return to Port Stanvac today. Mobil Australia spokesman Ms Samantha Potts said Chanda would load fuel for delivery to another port.
16 September 1999 – Australia's Federal Environment Protection Authority expects to prosecute Mobil Refining Australia, a unit of Mobil Corp, over an oil spill off its Port Stanvac refinery, the authority said yesterday. The charges would be laid under either the Environment Protection Act 1993, which carries maximum penalties of $1million (US$645,000) or the Pollution of Waters by Oil and Noxious Substances Act 1987 which has a maximum fine of A$200,000. Authority chairman Stephen Walsh said investigations were still continuing into the June 28 spill at the refinery in the state of South Australia. "I expect charges to be laid at the completion of the investigation. Based on current evidence it is estimated that the investigation will take about another four weeks," he said in a statement. "However further unforeseen issues may arise from the evidence to be obtained over that period and this could extend the investigation timetable." If charges are laid the prosecution process could also be lengthy. "The chairman indicated that if charges were laid and it went to court, 12 months was not out of the question," a spokesman said. A total of 270 cu m of oil was spilled at a mooring off the 78,000 barrels per day refinery after a crude oil carrier had completed discharge. Mobil has estimated the cost of the spill and its subsequent clean-up at around A$1 million. A Mobil spokesman said yesterday the company had completed its own investigation of the spill and provided the information to the authority, but he said the company could not comment on the authority's announcement that it was likely to prosecute. "It is a little early to sort out what our response is," he said.
28 June 1999 – Puget Sound, Washington, USA
An oil tanker spilled about 1,050 gallons of crude oil into north Puget Sound waters yesterday, the Coast Guard said. M tanker Arco Texas (47,766 gt, built 1973) was unloading oil at the Tosco refinery when her stern became unmoored at about 01.55, local time, said Coast Guard Lt J.G. Paul Lattanzi. As the vessel drifted away from the dock, the metal arm that carries oil from the tanker to the refinery was bent and broken, he said, and oil spilled into the water. "The unexpected motion of the vessel twisted and broke the discharge arm," Lattanzi said. He said the flow of oil was stopped immediately. It was not clear how the stern of the ship became unmoored from the dock. The Coast Guard and the company were investigating. Tosco Ferndale Refinery spokeswoman Wendy Eickmeyer estimated the spill at 20 barrels of crude oil, about 840 gallons. A light sheen of oil could be seen in the water from the dock at Neptune Beach for approximately seven miles, Lattanzi said. Booms were put in place to contain the oil, Lattanzi said, and two skimming vessels were aiding the clean-up. Absorbent mops were also being used to soak up the oil within the containment booms. The spill occurred 95 miles north of Seattle.
29 June 1999 – The Joint Information Center released the following update about the oil spilled from m tanker Arco Texas at the Ferndale dock: Spill response managers are continuing to monitor the Straits of Georgia and Whatcom County beaches for signs of crude oil. When the Ferndale loading arm was recovered from the water last night a small amount of oil, less than one barrel, was released into the water. A small sheen created by the oil moved south last night and today. Response vessels were deployed and absorbent materials were used on the sheen today, but it is too thin to recover much oil. A few small patches of sheen were visible this afternoon around Clark Island. A team dispatched to the site found no evidence of oil stranded on the shoreline. M oil sheen adjacent to the Ferndale dock continues to be visible, but is contained within a boom. Response crews continue to clean lightly oiled debris along sections of the beach near Point Whitehorn. There have been no reports of oiled birds or wildlife. The unified command overseeing the clean-up is comprised of ARCO Marine, Inc., US Coast Guard, Washington State Fish & Wildlife, NOAA, Clean Sound, Foss Environmental, Washington State Department of Ecology, Whatcom County Emergency Management, Lummi Nation and Whatcom County.
1 July 1999 – The Joint Information Centre released the following update, dated June 30, about the oil spilled from the s tanker Arco Texas at the Ferndale dock: A noon over-flight revealed no visible signs of oil sheen. Protective boom that had been used as a precautionary measure at Sandy Point has been removed. Eight ten-foot lines of sorbent material have been laid near the shoreline at Point Whitehorn. These will continue to be monitored through the end of the week. The United States Coast Guard and the Washington State Department of Ecology have approved the completion of active clean-up. There have been no reports of oiled birds or wildlife. Arco Texas is scheduled to dock at ARCO's Cherry Point refinery on July 3.
6 July 1999 – Oil refiner Tosco Corp. said today it had resumed regular crude oil deliveries to its Ferndale, Wash. refinery after a crude spill last month damaged its loading dock. The dock's loading arms were crippled on June 27. Refinery spokesman Jerry Ecklund said the loading problem was corrected and crude runs were restored to normal after being cut by between 10 and 15 per cent through July 2.
30 June 1999 – Simrishamn Area, Sweden
A large oil spillage was discovered today at the beaches of south-east Sweden, south of Simrishamn. The total extent is still unknown, but oil has been noted along several kilometres of the beach. It is possible a four-week-old major spillage from the port of Ahus has refloated/reemerged again further south. Last time, the oil fighting took several weeks and as the first part of the holiday season has started and with slightly higher temperatures in the water, more oil could emerge and cause further problems.
1 July 1999 – Columbia River, USA
M bulk carrier Super Rubin (15,932 gt, built 1996) refuelling on the Columbia River near Hayden Island was the site of a 200-gallon fuel spill early Wednesday (June 30). The incident happened during a diesel transfer from an Olympic Tug and Boat barge to Super Rubin. Fuel overflowed from an area connected to the transfer pipe, onto the deck of the vessel and into the water. It was not clear exactly how the spill occurred, and the Coast Guard was investigating. A black mass of fuel was found floating in the Multnomah Channel, and officials think it could be related to the spill. "It's entirely possible for the tides and currents to take that oil that originated in the Columbia River," said Coast Guard Lt Lance Lindsay. "Because the Columbia is relatively high, it could have swept that oil, at least in part, up the Willamette River." Lindsay said that the convergence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers could have acted as a suction for the fuel, which would explain how it got into the channel. The deep water would have quickly diluted the thick mass. "The water disperses it and makes it less of a pollution threat," said Melinda Merrill, a spokeswoman for Nissen Kaiun Co. Ltd, the Japanese company that owns Super Rubin. Oil collection devices, including three skimmers and two containment booms, were deployed about 02.30 hrs but did not retrieve much fuel Wednesday from either location. By late afternoon, the fuel had been swept as far as Warrior Rock near St Helens, Merrill said. The vessel was anchored off Hayden Island, en route to retrieve bins of loose grain in Vancouver, Wash., Lindsay said.
21 July 1999 – Washington, USA
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has agreed to pay a record $18 million fine and plead guilty to 21 felony counts for dumping oil and hazardous chemicals from its cruise vessels and lying about it to the Coast Guard, Attorney General Janet Reno said today. "Royal Caribbean polluted the very environment on which its business relies," Reno said at a news conference. "They dumped everywhere; at sea, in port, at sensitive environmental areas, they didn't care." The attorney general said the plea agreement, which is to be presented for approval in federal courts in six cities, "should send a message to the entire cruise ship industry that illegal dumping does not pay". Reno said the cruise vessels used "secret by-pass pipes" to dump waste oil and hazardous materials overboard, often at night. Ship personnel falsified log books that employees called by a Norwegian term meaning "fairy tale book", she said. The plea agreements are to be filed in areas where Reno said environmental laws were violated: Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, Anchorage, Alaska, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Steve Solow, chief of the Justice Department's environmental crimes section, said hazardous chemicals dumped by the vessels came from dry cleaning, photographic developing and print shops. The fine, the largest ever paid by a cruise line on charges of polluting US waters, is in addition to a $9 million fine Royal Caribbean agreed to pay in Miami in June 1998 to settle previous charges of dumping oily waste. The cruise line also agreed last March to pay a $1 million fine for falsifying discharge records on a cruise vessel that stopped in Los Angeles.
22 July – Donegal Bay, Ireland
Nearly 8,000 gallons (28 tonnes) of heating oil spilled from underground pipes at a pharmaceutical complex in Donegal, Ireland, on July 14, and about 1,320 gallons (4.5 tonnes) reached Donegal Bay through drains, to contaminate 100 metres of Muckros Strand. Clean-up contractors for Abbott Ireland responded, along with crew of the Donegal County Council, the Irish Department of the Marine and the Irish Marine Emergency Services. Donal Casey, a chemist for the county council, praised Abbott's response, but noted the company is liable to prosecution as well as clean-up costs, estimated at US$128,000. Casey renewed a call for industries in Donegal to raise their fuel lines above ground, so that staff can more readily detect leaks.
3 August 1999 – Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, Australia
A news report dated, Sydney today, states: Authorities say it will be dawn before the true extent of an oil spill on Sydney Harbour is known. Although the spill is believed to be contained, a massive clean-up operation is continuing throughout the night. More than 10,000 litres of crude oil escaped while being transferred from an Italian registered tanker (m tanker Laura d Amato, 54,962 gt, built 1991) to the Shell Oil refinery at Greenwich on Sydney's lower north shore. The head of the New South Wales Waterways Authority and Chairman of the State Oil Spill Combat Committee, Matt Taylor, is at the scene supervising the clean-up. Mr Taylor says everything is being done to contain the spill "We've boomed off the bay but it's pitch black out there," he said. "It may be that some oil has escaped through the booms and we're looking at that part of the harbour to see if we can find anything that may have escaped. We'll be looking at it or checking it out all through the night and we'll be ready come the dawn to attack it in earnest." The spill also caused a thick vapour to cover the area affecting thousands of residents.
4 August 1999 – Investigators are looking into the possibility of sabotage, after it was revealed that last night's oil spill did not occur during off-load at the Shell terminal. The Waterways Authority said it would investigate whether two sacked crewmen were behind the spill after rumours began circulating this afternoon. Maritime Union of Australia NSW branch secretary Robert Coombs confirmed the rumour was circulating in the Cockatoo Island dockyards. It now appears that Shell may not be to blame for the incident, as the leak did not happen on the side of the vessel closest to the shore. Waterways Authority chief executive officer Matt Taylor also said there was no clear evidence whether the spill was a result of mechanical or human failure. "We're going to be doing our own investigation to ascertain whether or not the personnel on board m tanker Laura d Amato were properly trained and certified and complying with international convention and international standards," said Mr Coombs. "My understanding is the vessel does not have a segregated ballast system." The crew of Laura d Amato and her captain were interviewed by lawyers of the Waterways Authority and the Environmental Protection Authority. Whoever is found responsible for the incident faces a fine of up to $1 million. A large proportion of the thick slick of oil in Gore Cove has been cleaned throughout the morning and clean-up crews are now looking at cleaning the larger harbour. Between 10,000 and 14,000 litres leaked into the harbour. The oil is now concentrated in several areas between Mort Bay, south-west of Gore Bay and east to Kirribilli, opposition the Sydney Opera House. There is some sheen east of Kirribilli. Extra resources have been called from Newcastle, Port Kembla and the Australian Marine Safety Authority, and extra equipment is coming from interstate. Two oil skimmers have been deployed to collect oil from the water surface. Another three oil skimmers will this afternoon arrive in Sydney from Melbourne and Brisbane. The Water Police, Sydney Ports, the Fire Brigade, Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Shell and the Waterways Authority are all involved in the emergency operation.
4 August 1999 – Up to 10,000 litres of crude oil has leaked into Sydney Harbour from m tanker Laura d'Amato while the vessel was discharging at Shell's Gore Cove terminal last night. Preliminary indications are that the spill came from the vessel herself, not the hose connections to shore, or from the terminal side of the operation. It is also being suggested that no equipment failure was involved in the incident. The vessel was in the early stages of discharging her cargo of Saudi Arabian crude at the time that the spill occurred, after arriving in Sydney yesterday morning. Hydrocarbon fumes from the spilt crude caused widespread alarm across Sydney's north shore suburbs yesterday evening. The vessel sailed for Australia from Jebel Dhanna at the beginning of July. Sydney Ports' rapid response team was deployed quickly to assist Shell in containing the spill, which was largely confined along the harbour's North Shore between Mort Bay and Kirribilli. Five Marco skimmers for collecting up the oil were in use by the end of the day, with three units flown in by the Australian Air Force from stockpiles in Melbourne and Brisbane. The Australian Navy also assisted in putting a tertiary boom around the first set of booms rigged by the Sydney Ports Corporation. From the location of the booms now in place, the run-off of cargo took place on the shore side of the vessel. Both Shell and the New South Wales government have begun their own inquiries into the spill. The government inquiry is being carried out by NSW Waterways, whose chairman Matt Taylor is chairman of the state oil spill response committee. The inquiry will report back to state transport minister Carl Scully.
Following the oil spillage at Shell's Gore Bay Terminal, Sydney, the owners of m tanker Laura d'Amato would like to thank the Sydney Ports Authority, the New South Wales Fire Brigade, the EPA, Shell Australia and others involved for their timely intervention to mitigate the effects of the incident. Estimates are that approximately 40-60 barrels were discharged into the water, most of which was contained by booms around the vessel. We trust that the light crude which entered into the bay will be contained and collected by the substantial cleaning effort in place. The owners do, of course, deeply regret any negative impact that this spill may have had upon the local community or the environment. Officers and crew of the vessel, together with the owner's representatives are co-operating fully with the appropriate authorities to establish how the oil spill occurred. Preliminary findings suggest that two ship-side valves that were sealed by external surveyors at the loading port, were the cause of the incident. It would appear that there was no technical malfunction of the valves and that human error or failing cannot be ruled out at this stage. The owners are aware of reports in media implying a deliberate act of tampering in the vessel's unloading procedure, and would stress that at present there is absolutely no evidence to suggest this to be the case. The owners comment that the investigation will be looking at all possibilities.
5 August 1999 – The owners m tanker Laura d'Amato last night accepted blame for one of Sydney's biggest oil spills – 80,000 litres of crude oil forming a 10km slick on the harbour. The Naples-based shipping company Fratelli D'Amato said that the spill, eight times worse than at first estimated, had been caused by an open valve. It accepted liability for all clean-up costs and property damage. The clean-up continued overnight in tandem with efforts to contain the spill, which extended from the Gladesville Bridge to Rose Bay. The slick had passed under the Harbour Bridge and oil could be seen around the Opera House. Two Marco oil recovery vessels were flown in from Brisbane as green groups expressed concern that floating barriers were not containing all the spill. Although an estimated 40 per cent of the spill had evaporated, helped by favourable winds, Shell estimated that the clean-up could take several more days. The Premier called the spill a "desecration" of the harbour. The mishap occurred as the Laura d'Amato was discharging her cargo of light crude oil at the Shell Oil Gore Bay Terminal, at Greenwich on Tuesday (August 3) night. Shell, which chartered the vessel, and the Sydney Waterways Authority have launched separate investigations. The spill triggered debate over the waterway's future as a working harbour, with green groups and the State Opposition calling on Shell to relocate the depot, which it has operated since 1901, outside the harbour. Fratelli D'Amato said the open valve which released the oil had been detected very quickly by the crew, ending further spillage within five minutes. "We are shocked and upset by what has happened and are co-operating fully with the terminal and harbour authorities to facilitate clean-up as well as to investigate why the accident happened and to prevent any re-occurrence," it said in a statement. The company's liability insurer, the Standard Steamship Owners Protection & Indemnity Association (Bermuda) Ltd, is believed to be responsible for all clean-up costs. Although Fratelli D'Amato did not explain why the valve was open, allegations that two crew members, angry at being sacked or disciplined, had deliberately opened it could neither be "ruled in or out", authorities said. The chairman of Shell, Mr Peter Duncan, said that the company was not responsible for the accident, blaming instead the ship's crew. He added: "I don't want to make statements until everyone has investigated … but at this point-in time, it doesn't appear that Shell is involved in the cause." The State's environment watch-dog has warned that those responsible face fines of up to $1 million and, if sabotage is proven, criminal charges. Last night, the Sydney Ports Corporation estimated that 80,000 litres of oil had spilled into the harbour, eight times more than first thought. Fuel transfer operations from the tanker have been suspended until the clean-up is completed.
5 August 1999 – The Italian owners of m tanker Laura d'Amato, which leaked 80,000 litres of oil into Sydney Harbour today ruled out sabotage, but investigators were not satisfied with the explanation of how oil leaked from manually operated valves. Italy's Fratelli D'Amato SpaA said, "there is absolutely no evidence" to suggest "a deliberate act of tampering in the vessel's unloading procedure" caused the oil spill. The spill on Tuesday night (August 3) was the worst in Sydney Harbour for 10-20 years, resulting in oil slicks stretching several kilometres along the harbour past the Sydney Opera House. The vessel's owners said two valves on the side of the vessel, externally sealed by surveyors when the vessel was loaded, were open and caused the oil spill on Tuesday night. "It would appear that there was no technical malfunction of the valves and that human error or failing can not be ruled out at this stage," said a statement for the owners issued in Sydney. The valves are normally used to suck sea water into the vessel to fill the ballast tanks for stability and to make her heavier in the open sea once the oil had been unloaded. The New South Wales Waterways Authority, which is investigating the spill, said today it was not satisfied with the company's statement, although it welcomed the owner's apology for the spill. "The shipping company have ruled out sabotage. I want to take that up with them," Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Wayerways Authority said. "The shipping company hasn't made it clear exactly what happened. We know where the oil came from now – we know the valves from which it came, but we don't know why they were open when they should have been shut," Taylor said. "It could be human error, it could be negligence or it could be anything. I am not ruling in or ruling out anything. I am trying to find out what happened," he said. Taylor said he would again interview the crew. Taylor said Fratelli D'Amato SpA was "a reputable and responsible shipping company", but added their statement accepting responsibility for costs arising from damage and the clean-up would not prevent a possible prosecution. Under the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act, those responsible for oil spills can be fined A$15,000 to A$1.0 million, depending on the degree of environmental damage. The clean-up of oil stretching 10km under the Sydney Harbour Bridge continued today. The majority of oil was contained behind booms on the night of the spill. About 50 fire-fighters used high-pressure hoses to clean oil off the shore and push it into the harbour for the skimmer vessels to pick up. Skimmers have already picked up about 16,000 litres. Much of the oil has evaporated. "There is quite a lot of brown, emulsified oil patches on the northern shore and promontories," Taylor said. "We are slowly, but methodically hacking away at the problem. It is going to take several more days to move the major concentrations." A rescue operation was under way to save an endangered colony of fairy penguins at a secret location on the harbour, but the National Parks and Wildlife Service said the oil spill had little impact on wildlife.
6 August 1999 – All tankers docked in Australia's Sydney Harbour may in future be surrounded by booms to minimise pollution from any spillage, according to the New South Wales state government. The move is part of a new contingency plan being prepared in response to the 80,000-litre oil spill from m tanker Laura d'Amato on Tuesday (August 3). The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says checks and regulations on tankers entering the harbour should be trebled to prevent any repeat of the spill. Tanker owner Fratelli D'Amato, which has accepted blame for the spill, categorically rejects lingering media reports that sabotage was responsible for the opening of two sea valves as the vessel was docking at Shell's Gore Bay terminal. Sydney's Waterways Authority will not rule out sabotage as it continues questioning the 22 Italian and Filipino crew. Fratelli also faces fines of up to A$1 million if it is prosecuted under the Marine Pollution Act.
6 August 1999 – M tanker Laura d'Amato responsible for the Sydney Harbour oil emergency this week will remain in port indefinitely. Authorities say they are aware of pressure from ship owners for the crew of Laura d'Amato to leave Sydney as soon as possible. An estimated 20,000 tonnes of light crude is still inside the vessel and transferring the fuel is not expected to be completed until tomorrow night. The head of the task force responsible for the clean-up, the Sydney Waterway's Authority's Matthew Taylor, says a number of environmental factors need to be assessed before the tanker can leave. "Tide, wind, possible weather, predicted weather, time of day, other traffic on the harbour – everything," Mr Taylor said. "We'll probably have to put divers down to make sure there's no oil on the hull, or even if we plan to pressure blast the hull to get any oil off that might still be there," he said.
6 August 1999 – The total damages bill for the 80,000 litres of light crude that was spilled into Sydney Harbour, from m tanker Laura d'Amato, is expected to be less than A$5 million (US$3.3 million) the tanker's London P&I club claimed. The clean-up component of the bill was potentially A$1 million. A fine from the Environmental Protection Authority and compensation claims for damages to business and personal property made up the rest.
9 August 1999 – M tanker Laura d'Amato and her crew could leave Sydney as early as this week, but not without an undertaking from the insurers to meet the massive clean-up cost, the Waterways Authority said yesterday.
The chief executive of the authority, Mr Matt Taylor, who is heading the State Government's spill inquiry, said the results of the investigation would be handed to the Minister for Transportt, Mr Scully, by the end of the week. A spokesman for the Waterways Authority did not rule out the possibility of the vessel leaving before the release of the report. However, he said it would not leave before the oil spill investigation team was satisfied that sufficient details and statements had been gathered from the master and crew of the vessel. The vessel discharged the rest of her cargo yesterday. Divers continued checking the hull for trapped oil, and cleaning continued of the surrounding Gore Bay, where the spill's most significant concentration of oil lies behind protective booms. A spokesman for Shell said its investigations into the cause of the incident would be completed this week but the results would not be revealed until after the Government's report was. Mr Taylor said there was still sheen east and west of the Harbour Bridge which should break up naturally. The operations coordinator for wildlife management at the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Ms Fiona Mandelc, said that while there had been more than 300 reports of oily birds, only four penguins and four cormorants had been taken to Taronga Zoo.
10 August 1999 – M tanker Laura d'Amato sailed from Sydney yesterday, after the Standard P&I Club posted bonds of A$8 million (US$5.29 million) to cover the fines and direct clean-up costs, almost certain to be sought by the Sydney Ports Corporation, under the NSW Marine Pollution Act, following last week's spill. Shell Australia said yesterday that completion of discharge of Laura d'Amato showed that the loss of oil had been far greater than thought earlier, with 250 tonnes now believed to have gone into the harbour, rather than the 70-100 tonnes estimated last week. Investigations are understood to still focus on why hull valves, which should have been sealed shut, were sealed open. Government sources said that they still do not know how or when the valves opened. The last major concentrations of floating oil in Sydney harbour, around the naval base at HMAS Waterhen, were being tackled on August 8.
16 August 1999 – The preliminary report into the oil spill on Sydney Harbour from m tanker Laura d'Amato on August 3 has recommended legal action be taken. New South Wales Premier Bob Carr took delivery of the report this morning, which follows the investigation into the leaking of 300,000 litres of light crude oil from the vessel at Gore Cove. The vessel was allowed to leave the harbour last week after her insurers paid an A$8 million bond. Mr Carr says the report will not be made public yet for legal reasons but he intends to act on one of its recommendations, which is to prosecute.
18 August 1999 – A press report, dated Sydney August 17, states: Two valves inside the hull of m tanker Laura d'Amato might have been left open, negligently or deliberately, up to five weeks before the vessel reached Sydney. The revelation surfaced yesterday as a preliminary report on the Gore Bay oil spill by the head of the Sydney Waterways Authority, Mr Matt Taylor, was handed to the Premier, Mr Carr. Industry sources say allegations of sabotage by a sacked crewman have not been ruled out but may not be pursued. The unidentified crewman is understood to have left the vessel before she reached Saudi Arabia, about the same time as investigators believe the valves were opened. Mr Carr said the contents of the report might not be publicly released until after the court case but it is understood investigations have focused on why the problem was not discovered and fixed before the vessel began unloading her cargo at the Shell refinery on August 3. Legal action is pending against the owners after 300,000 litres of light crude oil spilled into Sydney Harbour, triggering a massive clean-up. The case could go before the Admiralty division of the NSW Supreme Court within a month. The owners, who would not comment yesterday, have previously said: "The investigation appears to revolve around two valves on board the ship which were certified as sealed by external surveyors at the port of loading in the Arabian Gulf." Mr Carr would not discuss the report other than to say the Shell terminal was cleared of blame and one recommendation was to launch a prosecution against those responsible. "It is our intention, it's our desire, to see the report is released; there are legal implications, however, and we will accept legal advice on that," he said. "Certainly I would be looking at releasing the recommendations as soon as possible." A spokesman for the Minister for Transport, Mr Scully, said the Government would seek legal advice to determine whether release of the report's findings could prejudice any subsequent prosecution. Mr Taylor refused to say if the legal action would be against the owners or the crew involved in unloading the oil. He has previously blamed a leaking valve in the vessel's side, which should not have been open, for the disaster.
19 August 1999 – The New South Wales Government has accepted all the recommendations arising from the independent investigation into Sydney Harbour's worst oil spill and will immediately start legal action to prosecute those responsible. The Sydney Ports Corporation is to start legal proceedings under the Marine Pollution Act against those responsible for the 300,000-litre spill from m tanker Laura d'Amato.
20 August 1999 – Ship-owner Fratelli D'Amato says that poor shipboard practice on its m tanker Laura d'Amato was to blame for the Sydney harbour oil spill earlier this month. The company says that the officer responsible for implementing valve checks has been asked to leave. Meanwhile, the New South Wales government has released recommendations of its spill report. The sea chest valves were left open, and caused a spill into Sydney harbour when the vessel began discharging her wing tanks. The valves were supposed to have been both closed, and sealed by an external surveyor, the ship-owner had said earlier. There were clear company instructions for checking these valves which were evidently not followed, the company said in a statement yesterday. Regular users of the Shell terminal in Sydney say that the sealing and checking of sea water valves is a standard requirement of port authorities or terminal operators in both load and discharge ports. The vessel had loaded at Jebel Dannah. In the NSW government report, spill investigator Matthew Taylor of New South Wales Waterways said all tankers in Sydney's Gore Bay terminal must be boomed, and that there must be a full check on vessels' valves by terminal and vessel staff. He also said that gas detection equipment able to raise an audible warning of a spill must be installed, along with extra lighting to increase the chances of sighting spilled oil at night. Some of the measures may also be applied to the Botany Bay oil terminal. Mr Taylor has said that the measures would surpass world's best practice outlined in the International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals. The State Government has confirmed that it will prosecute Fratelli D'Amato under the 1987 New South Wales Oil Pollution Act. The company is also open to private claims for damage under the Civil Liability Convention.
9 August 1999 – Mt Vernon, Indiana, USA
Following received from Marine Safety Office, Louisiana: Situation at 10.05 hrs: M tug Damon Waxler (454 gt, built 1968, official number 516589), pushing four gasoline barges, lost control of tow and came into contact with fleeted barge AO 331, loaded with cumene, at Mt Vernon barge fleeting area, Indiana. Collision resulted in damage to lead tank barge WTC 456 (1,555 gt, built 1969), official number 518273, and caused reported release of gasoline. The second barge in the tow convoy, tank barge WTC 4708 (1,729 gt, built 1976), official number D570572, lodged in the starboard side of the AO 331. The two barges remain locked together and an unknown amount of cumene and gasoline has entered the water. At 10.06 hrs, Ohio River closed between Mile 827 and Mile 830. At 13.00 hrs, an over-flight was conducted and a two-mile sheen observed over the width of the river. MSO Louisville personnel arrived on scene to assess the situation. The winds from the north-west and the slow-moving current kept the gasoline contained within two miles of the incident. Air quality surveys are being conducted. Air monitoring on the damaged barges indicate high benzene concentrations. At 17.00 hrs, company personnel gauged barges had lost approximately 65,000 gallons of gasoline. Future plans and recommendations: Empty barge will lighter remaining cargo from WTC 456. Salvage plan will be submitted to separate the WTC 4708 and the AO 331, together with a lightering plan to off-load cargo from each vessel. Upon completion of air quality surveys, all vessels will be gauged to determine the amount of product discharged. Water monitoring to be conducted to facilitate filling of Mt Vernon reservoir.
No injuries have been reported. Currently, both barges remain at the fleeting area at Mile marker 828.5. Boom is being deployed on the river to contain any spilled product. River conditions are reported to be calm and still. The Mt Vernon water intake has been closed as a precaution and notifications have been made to the appropriate state and federal authorities. An assessment of the spill and response efforts are continuing by employees of MAP, Waxler, and the Coast Guard.
10 August 1999 – A barge collision spilling gasoline into the Ohio River, closing the waterway to traffic and forcing downstream communities to stop drawing water from the river. The collision along this city involved four barges loaded with gasoline and another barge carrying cumene. Two stricken barges leaked an undetermined amount of gasoline into the river, said William MacKenzie, chief warrant officer for the Coast Guard in Louisville, KY. The Coast Guard closed off the river while authorities determined how to clean up the mess. "If you contain gasoline, you create a large pool that is an extreme fire hazard," MacKenzie said. "One option may be to allow it to evaporate." Down river communities that rely on the river for water supplies were quickly notified of the collision. Local officials said the river current has been slowed by drought, which could lessen the impact of the spill. "It's such a slow move. It's dead right now," June Gray, water plant operator in Sturgis, KY, said of the river current. Mount Vernon, a city of about 7,000 that relies on Ohio River water, closed its intake valves about 09.30, CDT. The city will bring in water from Evansville, if reserves are depleted before it resumes pumping river water, Bennett said. In Kentucky, Morganfield closed its river intake and relied on a nearby reservoir, said city water plant manager John Coffman. Meanwhile, a team of Coast Guard environmentalists was dispatched to the scene of the collision, along with other state and federal officials, MacKenzie said. Investigators will look into what caused the collision. "Our initial response is to mitigate the situation, make sure people are safe and the waterway is safe," he said. The four barges carrying the gasoline are owned by Waxler Towing Co. of Memphis, MacKenzie said. The barge hauling cumene is owned by Ashland Inc.
11 August 1999 – Guard crews today mopped up a gasoline spill that fouled the Ohio River, assisted by sunshine that evaporated a miles-long fuel slick caused by a barge crash. The river remained closed to traffic for a second day but the Coast Guard hoped to reopen the waterway by tonight. Mt Vernon, forced to haul in water when river intake valves were closed, resumed pumping river water into its treatment plant this afternoon. A boil water advisory remained in effect. A three-mile-long gasoline sheen formed after the barge crash was reduced to a half-mile today, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Angel Deimler. Workers removed gasoline remaining on a barge (tank barge WTC 456) that had leaked an estimated 69,000 gallons of fuel into the river, she said. Crews worked to separate another gasoline-laden barge (tank barge WTC 470B) from a vessel (tank barge AO 331) carrying cumene, a toxic chemical used in making plastics, that was struck while docked, Deimler said. Workers sprayed foam around the crash site to soak up the gasoline and reduce the threat of fire. However, much of the clean-up was done naturally by the bright sunshine. Deimler said the weather conditions also kept the gasoline slick from spreading far down river, confining it to a two-mile area. With its water reserves nearly depleted, Mt Vernon gained approval from Indiana environmental officials to reopen its water intake valves along the river, said city utility manager Mike Stucki. The city treated the river water with charcoal to remove any "volatile solids", while a boil order would remain, he said.
12 August 1999 – UTC: Tank barges WTC 456, WTC 470B and AO 33I have been off-loaded and have been taken for permanent repairs, WTC 456 and WTC 470B to Memphis, and AO 331 to Catlettsburg, Kentucky.
13 August 1999 – Clean-up crews ended their work on the Ohio River yesterday after a barge collision earlier spilled 75,000 gallons of gasoline into the river. Coast Guard officials said samples taken from the water and air in the area were acceptable, although more testing would be done. Clean-up crews were expected to leave by late aftemoon. A boil water order for Mount Vernon will remain in effect until tomorrow morning. Coast Guard officials said the crash occurred Monday morning (August 9) after a four-barge Waxler Towing Co. tug (m tug Damon Waxler) navigating upriver struck a moored Marathon Ashland chemical barge (AO 337). Two barges broke away and the gasoline barge, an old-fashioned, single-hull barge (tank barge WTC 456), struck the side of the AO 331 moored on the Kentucky shoreline and then ran aground, dumping the fuel. The second Waxler barge (WTC 4708) also hit the AO 331, which was filled with 1 million gallons of cumene. The leak appeared to be coming from two holes torn in one of the front starboard chambers of the WTC 456. The barge was carrying about 945,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline in ten chambers. The second Waxler gasoline barge and the Marathon cumene barge, which wedged into each other, were double-hulled vessels, and neither appeared to leak significantly.
20 August 1999 – Wellington, New Zealand
The owner of Korean m trawler Dong Won No 529 that ran aground and sank near Stewart Island last year has been fined $20,000 for breaching the Resource Management Act. South Korean company Dong Won Fisheries Co. Ltd had previously admitted a charge brought by the Maritime Safety Authority of discharging a harmful substance in the sea after Dong Won No. 529 ran aground at Breaksea Islands on October 6, 1998. A similar charge against the vessel's master, Si Jin Choe (also known as Shi-Jin Choi), of Korea, was yesterday withdrawn by the authority. Judge Peter Skelton, of Christchurch, in the Environment Court in Invercargill, said a series of errors, some bordering on sheer incompetence, resulted in the vessel foundering. An estimated 230,000 litres of diesel, lubricant, and hydraulic oil spilled into the sea. The spill triggered a national response and 200 people worked around the clock for 13 days. Judge Skelton noted there had been no actual environmental effects, much due to the response effort. Judge Skelton said the company had been responsible in helping with the clean-up, had admitted its liability at an early stage, and had not profited from the spill, which had instead cost it dearly. Counsel Bruce Fraser, of Christchurch, said the major causes of the spill had been human factors over which the company had no control. Nathan Gray, of Wellington, for the Maritime Safety Authority, said the accident happened because of lax procedures on Dong Won No. 529. The four officers involved had all been appropriately qualified and authorised by the authority to operate in New Zealand waters. All four had since been dismissed or left the company and would not work for the company again, Mr Fraser said. The company had paid close to $3 million already.
9 September 1999 – Northern California, USA
An out of court settlement now looks likely in the high profile US oil spill prosecution relating to the Pegasus controlled m tanker Command (since renamed Merlin). Maritime industry sources believe a settlement could be reached by the end of this month. The sources suggest the plea-bargain settlement may involve a fine of around $10 million. If this proves correct, it will bring an end to a year-long case and pre-empt a trial which was scheduled for November 2. The case was brought after the US Coast Guard alleged that Command was involved in an oil spill in the San Francisco Bay area last September. The spill required a $1 million clean-up and seabird rescue operation in California's San Mateo County. Northern California's district attorney subsequently announced criminal charges against the owner, operator, and two crew members of the panamax tanker. The December 1998 indictment alleged that Pearl Shipping Corporation of Liberia and Greece's Anax International Agencies, as the Command's owner and manager, respectively, together with the ship's master and chief engineer, conspired to violate the US Clean Water Act. It was also alleged that the defendants knowingly dumped in excess of 50,000 gallons of bunker fuel oil and thereafter failed to report the discharge of what is defined as a "harmful quantity of oil". The master Dimitrios Georgantas and chief engineer Lampros Karaganis faced potential prison sentences if convicted. The US Coast Guard officers boarded the tanker on October 5 in international waters 200 miles south of Guatemala. Officials later claimed they had matched oil from the spill to samples from the ship's bunkers. The defence case argued that the US authorities had cited the wrong vessel for the pollution incident. The exact terms of any plea-bargain remain to be seen.
7 September 1999 – San Francisco, USA
M trailing suction hopper/dredger Stuyvesant (7,111 gt, built 1982) spilled an estimated 2,000 gallons of fuel just outside the environmentally sensitive Humboldt Bay overnight after rough seas caused a long boom arm to swing around and puncture a hole on a fuel tank. Stuyvesant was returning to the bay after unloading silt, sand and mud when eight-ten-foot swells began tossing the vessel around at approximately 2000 yesterday, US Coast Guard Lt Richard Teubner said today. A 65-foot boom that is used for dredging swung around and sliced a six-inch gash, causing the spill from the vessel's fuel tank on the starboard side, Teubner said. "She continued to come in for about two miles before the crew on board noticed she was leaking. They immediately turned around and went out to sea to get away from environmentally sensitive Humboldt Bay," Teubner said. The vessel's crew began pumping the remaining fuel from the punctured tank to other empty tanks in order to tilt the vessel enough to bring the hole out of the water. Then water was pumped into the damaged tank. "The fuel has been trickling every now and then, but it's basically under control," Teubner said. At dawn, a Coast Guard helicopter flew over the area to assess the spill. "Nothing has come ashore and so far, there's no impact on the bay at all," Teubner said. "The helicopter did see a pretty good sheen starting about two miles from the shore going out to maybe about five to ten miles." He said there were a couple of areas with concentrated amounts, but the rest seemed very light. "We're looking at skimmers to go out there to take that today," he said. It was unknown how long the clean-up would take. Although preliminary reports showed the bay and its wildlife apparently were unaffected, the state Department of Health Services ordered an oyster hatchery to halt harvesting until tests are completed. Greg Dale, manager of Coast Seafood Co., confirmed harvesting was halted today and said he was not sure when it would continue. The vessel's owner will pay for the clean-up. "We actually contracted with several different companies to co-ordinate the clean-up effort and to mitigate any potential damages," said William D. Hoffman, vice president and chief financial officer of Belle Chasse, LA-based Bean Dredging Corp. "We have stopped the leak and we are working closely with the Coast Guard and the appropriate state agencies."
8 September 1999 – M trailing suction hopper/dredger Stuyvesant: Most of the spilled fuel oil has dispersed and clean-up is under way of the oil which reached the shore. The hole in the vessel's hull will be patched later today.
9 September 1999 – The beaches near Humboldt Bay were littered with asphalt-like tar balls and 101 birds were oil-slicked two days after m trailing suction hopper/dredger Stuyvesant leaked 2,000 gallons of fuel into the sea here. Ninety workers from federal, state and local agencies continued today to clean up the mess left when a dredge apparatus punctured a fuel tank on Stuyvesant on Monday, the US Coast Guard said. The tar balls, around two inches in diameter, covered small stretches of beach north and south of the mouth of Humboldt Bay, said Coast Guard spokesman Gene Maestas. Humbolt State University has transformed its wildlife education facility to a headquarters for treating oiled seabirds. The Coast Guard reported that 101 oily birds and 13 dead ones had been found. No marine mammals were seen in the area at the time of the spill and none had been found oiled. There was no visible oil in Humboldt Bay, though shiny patches of oil are still floating around two miles off shore. Stuyvesant got a temporary patch at Humboldt Bay and was scheduled to be moved soon to dry dock in San Francisco for permanent repairs. The vessel was dredging the entrance channel to Humboldt Bay harbour for the Army Corps of Engineers about Monday night when rough seas apparently tossed part of the dredging apparatus against the vessel. Part of the equipment sliced through the hull, cutting a six-inch to eight-inch-wide hole in the tank. The vessel, which had been working about three-quarters of a mile offshore, was sent three miles out to sea after an over-flight Monday night spotted an oil sheen behind her.
9 September 1999 – M trailing suction hopper/dredger Stuyvesant, which spilled an estimated 2,000 gallons of fuel just outside Humboldt Bay, is reportedly proceeding towards San Francisco under her own power for permanent repairs. Clean-up crews are still cleaning up the oil.
10 September 1999 – Winds brought more oily tar balls onto shores near Humboldt Bay three days after m trailing suction hopper/dredger Stuyvesant leaked 2,000 gallons of fuel into the sea here. The number of live, oil-covered birds reached 240 today, doubling the previous day's count. Winds were expected to bring more oil ashore tomorrow. Workers from federal, state and local agencies were recruited to clean up the mess left when a dredge apparatus punctured a fuel tank on Stuyvesant on Monday, the US Coast Guard said. The tar balls, around two inches in diameter, covered small stretches of beach north of the mouth of Humboldt Bay today, said Coast Guard spokesman David Graham. There was no visible oil in Humboldt Bay. Stuyvesant got a temporary patch at Humboldt Bay and was moved to dry dock in San Francisco for permanent repairs.
11 September 1999 – Up to 350 workers were scouring the coast near Humboldt Bay today as oil that leaked from m trailing suction hopper/dredger Stuyvesant fuel tank continued washing ashore. Winds brought more oily tar balls onto local beaches, five days after a dredging vessel leaked 2,000 gallons of fuel into the sea. The number of birds found oily but alive reached 332 by today, most of them common murres. About 120 birds have been found dead, including six endangered marbled murrelets. No marine mammals had been found oiled. As of today, seven of the 19 miles of oiled shoreline from Mad River north to Trinidad Head had been cleaned, Coast Guard officials said. Beaches at Trinidad State Park and other nearby areas have been closed for the clean-up. About five tons of oily debris had been recovered by workers from federal, state and local agencies.
14 September 1999 – Los Angeles, USA
The owner of s tanker American Trader (37,269 gt, built 1969) which fouled the southern California coast with a massive oil spill in 1990 (February 7) has agreed to settle for $16 million, officials announced today. The settlement officially ends a case which saw a California jury put the first ever dollar figure on the value of the lost enjoyment of a day at the beach, $13.19, and years of litigation over who should pay clean-up costs for the spill. Attransco, the owner of American Trader, had earlier appealed a 1997 court order to pay $18.1 million after its vessel ran over her own anchor and spilled more than 400,000 gallons of oil into the marine waters and beaches off the coast of Huntington Beach, CA. The spill forced the cities of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach to close their beaches for five weeks and the 1997 jury verdict set a new legal precedent by awarding total damages of close to $13 million for the loss of public recreation. The 1997 verdict also said Attransco should pay $5.3 million for harming plankton and other tiny sea creatures that lived along the coastline damaged by the spill. Attransco had moved to have all prior settlement amounts deducted from the 1997 judgement, but prevailed only in part. Today's settlement represents the full payment of the resulting net judgement, officials said. "This is an excellent settlement that will avoid the uncertainties and delay of an appeal," California Department of Justice and the state Department of Fish and Game said in a joint news release. Attransco was one of three defendants sued by the cities and state in 1997. The oil's owners, BP America, a unit of British Petroleum, and Trans-Alaska Pipeline Liability Fund, paid about $7 million to settle the case while the owner of the dock, Golden West Refining Co., paid $4.5 million to settle. BP America also spent $12 million initially to clean up the oil slick.
9 September 1999 – Hamilton, Bermuda
In a tough warning to ships entering Bermuda's waters, a magistrate yesterday fined the master of m barge carrier Atlantic Forest a record $40,000 for spilling "hundreds" of gallons of oil off the Island. Court sources said it was the highest fine for a criminal offence ever handed out by a magistrate's court in Bermuda. In May, the master of mv Pascale Delmas was fined $30,000 for spilling oil at Murray's Anchorage, off St George's, the previous November (November 12). It was revealed yesterday, however, that last Friday (September 3), Chief Justice Austin Ward, sitting as a Supreme Court appellant judge, reduced the fine to $7,500. Trevor Moniz, lawyer for the master of Atlantic Forest, Bengt Magnusson, said he expected to receive instructions to appeal against the $40,000 fine. Senior Magistrate Will Francis heard that Atlantic Forest was spotted leaking oil and a mixture containing oil at 1315, March 2 when she was anchored at Five Fathom Hole, one-and-a-quarter miles east of St David's Head. It was reported at the time that the vessel was reloading cargo from s barge carrier Green Island, which limped into Bermuda for emergency repairs to a corroded hull. Junior Crown counsel Veronica Daley said Atlantic Forest had been there for at least three hours when a "large sheen of black oil was noticed". She said the slick was half a mile across by two miles and was down wind of the vessel. Because of the vessel's position and the weather, the oil was being driven away from the shore and the mainland was not affected. She said there was "believed to be hundreds of gallons discharged, continuously every eight to ten minutes". Marine Police officers notified Harbour Radio and at 1345 hrs they boarded the vessel. Mrs Daley said the master at first denied it was coming from his vessel, but when he was then taken to the starboard side to witness the spillage, he admitted it was coming from his vessel. When he was told he was in breach of the 1971 Prevention of Oil Pollution Act, he replied: "I didn't know it was coming from my vessel." When it became apparent he was unable to stop the spillage, he was instructed to up anchor and depart, which he did at 21.30 that day. She noted that in May, Pascale Delmas, was fined $30,000 for discharging "substantially less" oil. The owners of the vessel also voluntarily paid $30,000 to clean up the spillage. Mr Moniz said although his client was charged, the company, the United States based LCI Shipholdings Inc., accepted responsibility and pleaded guilty to the offence. Captain Magusson was not in court. The company does not have an office in Bermuda, but used various local shipping agencies, said Mr Moniz. He denied that hundreds of gallons had been spilled and argued that no-one could be sure how much oil had leaked out. "In the Pascale Demas case, the oil was coming towards the shore. There was no risk to Bermuda from this oil. In that case there was a clean-up cost of $30,000, but in this case the clean-up costs were zero. The bottom line is, there was no involvement or inconvenience of local people." Shortly after the fine was handed out, Mr Moniz returned to court to inform Mr Francis that he had just discovered the fine to Pascale Delmas had been reduced to $7,500. Mrs Daley argued against reducing the fine, saying the Supreme Court could decide the matter. She added: "The Appeal Court may have taken into account that in the last case the company spent $30,000 on a clean-up. In this case, these people fled and nothing was done." Mr Francis agreed with Mrs Daley that Supreme Court probably reduced the fine because of the money spent on the clean-up and he upheld the $40,000 fine.
16 July 1999 – New Bedford, MA, USA
Coast Guard crews responded to mfv Seafarer (163 gt, built 1968), which sank at the Eastern Fisheries Dock in New Bedford, MA, today. Seafarer sunk at her mooring in New Bedford between 21.00, July 15, and 02.15, July 16. It is believed that nobody was on board. However, there was an estimated 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board the vessel. Coast Guard personnel from Marine Safety Office Providence, RI, arrived on scene earlier today to assess the damage. An estimated 1,000 gallons of the fuel has leaked into the water. A commercial diver has plugged the fuel vents on the sunken vessel, so that no more fuel can spill into the harbour. A commercial cleaning crew is also on scene. They contained the spill in a boom and are pumping the fuel into a truck on shore. It is estimated that about 60 per cent of the spilled fuel will evaporate in the next 24 hours. This is considered to be a minor spill. The vessel is owned and operated by Boat Seafarer of New Bedford, Inc. Coast Guard crews from Station Menemsha, MA, and Air Station Cape Cod, MA, also helped in this incident. Crews from MSO Providence are monitoring the situation. The cause of this incident is under investigation.
27 July 1999 – Japan
A giant segment of m tanker Nakhodka, which split in two after a strong gale in January, 1997, and sank to a depth of 2.5km in the Sea of Japan, is still leaking fuel oil, according to Japanese press reports based on photographs taken in the water. The amount of fuel oil oozing from the tanker's stern has dropped compared with the previous examination in March, 1998, staff at the Government's scientific and technical department reported. However, there are new leakages. Fuel oil balls with a diameter of several centimetres are surfacing every five minutes. The tanker is stable and almost un-corroded. The Nakhodka was carrying about 19,000 tonnes of fuel oil, at least 4,500 tonnes of which have leaked into the sea.