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22 August 2003 – Exxon Valdez
A US appeals court has ordered a federal judge in Alaska to review the $4bn punitive damages awarded from the 1989 spill from non-specific tanker Exxon Valdez, lawyers and oil company officials said today. The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, has asked US District Court Judge H. Russel Holland in Anchorage to look at the case again in light of a recent US Supreme Court ruling. In that case, Campbell v. State Farm, punitive damages were limited. The original punitive damages award against tanker operator ExxonMobil, was $5bn, but that was reduced to $4bn last year. Exxon spokesman Tom Cirigliano told Reuters today the oil company will argue that under the guidelines of the State Farm case, damages should be less than $40m. The company has said it paid out $300m voluntarily to more than 11,000 Alaskans and businesses affected by the 11m gallon spill from the Valdez. It spread oil to more than 1,000 miles of coastline, killed thousands of sea mammals and birds and caused what government scientists say are lingering damages to a variety of marine species. Dave Oesting, the lead plaintiff attorney in Anchorage, said the order to Judge Holland was a two-sentence directive merely asking his court to review the original ruling in light of the Supreme Court ruling. Oesting said he believed the $4bn figure will hold up after the review. "Unfortunately, this is going to cause more delay in payment", said Gerard Nolting, another attorney for plaintiffs. "But we see the State Farm case as having no bearing on our case." He said he expects briefings and a new ruling from Judge Holland in two to three months. ExxonMobil, noting the court's action, said the lower court had been asked to "reconsider" the damage award. On orders from the higher court, Judge Holland last year trimmed the 1994 jury verdict against Exxon by $1bn to $4bn. Both the plaintiffs and ExxonMobil appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit.
21 August 2003 – Sea-Land Express
There are 50 tons of uranium ore concentrate on board grounded c.c. Sea-Land Express in Table Bay, the Nuclear Fuels Corporation of South Africa confirmed today. The material was being shipped from South Africa for processing in the USA, where it was destined to be turned into nuclear fuel, Nufcor operations director Paul Fitzsimon said. The revelation coincided with a threat by the national department of environment affairs to arrest the vessel if its cargo was not fully disclosed. Fitzsimon told radio station Cape Talk that the uranium was packed in "high integrity drums" which in turn were inside industrial containers. It would take a "fairly catastrophic" event to breach the containers, he said. Salvors were today readying equipment to pump some 4,000 tons of fuel oil off the vessel. South African maritime Safety Authority operations manager Bill Dernier said another attempt to re-float the lightened vessel would be made in about eight days, at the next spring tide. Dernier also revealed today that there are no voice recordings of exchanges between Cape Town port control and Sea-Land Express. He said "something went wrong" at Port Control, which normally records all ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship exchanges on its multi-million rand, state-of-the-art communications system. Dernier said port control did, however, have the vessel's radar plots stored in digital form, and he was going to view these this afternoon. A two-person US Coast Guard investigative team has arrived in Cape Town, and has already made contact with the master of the vessel, which sails under an American flag. Clare Gomes, spokesperson for salvors Smit Marine, said a string of hoses several hundred metres long to pipe off the fuel was being assembled at Smit Marines' quay in Cape Town harbour. If the operation could start tomorrow, two tugs, Pacific Worker and Pacific Brigand, would be used to take off the fuel. Otherwise an oil tanker would be available from Saturday (23 August). Three anchors had been placed as "ground tackle" to secure the receiving vessels. Under ideal conditions, the pumping could take place at about 50 tons an hour. People should not be surprised if it was still continuing seven days down the line. "You can't play around with oil: we don't even begin pumping if the weather is not in our favour", she said.
22 August 2003 – Amid growing concern about an ecological disaster, it has been revealed that a highly flammable chemical substance has started leaking out of one of the containers on board stranded c.c. Sea-Land Express. In addition, the ship is carrying 50 tons of uranium ore concentrate. The Nuclear Fuel Corporation of SA today told Sapa that the uranium ore is being held in special containers. Captain Bill Dernier of the SA Maritime Safety Association today confirmed that propyl acetate was leaking from one of the containers on board. The substance is highly flammable and volatile -- a tiny spark could ignite it. A guide on industrial substances states that the propyl acetate can explode when it comes into contact with oxidants, such as the chlorine used in swimming pools. Clint Eisenhauer of the US Ship Management (USSMI) said a small leakage was detected even before the ship was stranded. A chemical expert salvor of Smit Marine inspected the chemicals on board today. Dernier said there are 33 crates containing dangerous substances on board, including flammables, poisons, fireworks and substances that are slightly radioactive. Meanwhile, a second cold front was heading toward Cape Town and will bring more rain and strong winds. This might delay the salvaging process by another six days. Dr Crispian Olver, director general of environmental affairs and tourism, said the department would consider taking steps if the exact content of the containers was not made know soon. Such steps might include confiscating the ship or placing the ship in arrest. Olver said although the salvage was in the hands of Smit Marine and Samsa, it was important that the department gain complete access to information regarding the cargo of the ship in order to plan for any crisis which could have a negative effect on the environment. Clare Gomes for Smit Marine said a pipeline had been secured to a point in the sea where three separate ships would be anchored to receive oil pumped from the stricken vessel. The success of the operation depends on the weather, surf conditions and wind. Cobus Dowry, local government MEC, said the government did not have helicopters strong enough to airlift the containers. Mobile cranes would also not suffice because the water where the ship is stranded is too shallow.
22 August 2003 – Salvors will try to remove a leaking drum of flammable chemical from the stranded c.c. Sea-Land Express, spokesperson for the vessel's operators Evelyn Holtzhausen said today. He said the leak, believed to be from a single drum inside one of the 1,037 containers on the vessel, was noticed before the vessel went aground. "It will be a broken seal, or sweating: it's like a very slow dripping tap", he said. The volatile acetate evaporated virtually on contact with the air. The leak did not pose a major safety risk. "It is highly inflammable, but it's not near anything combustible", he said. On the advice of a chemical engineer, salvors Smit Marine would today pump carbon dioxide gas into the container to neutralise the acetate fumes before entering with oxygen masks and protective clothing to try to remove the drum. The container was not difficult to reach, he said. The removal of fuel oil from the stranded vessel began about midnight yesterday, spokesperson for the salvors Clare Gomes said today. A string of hoses was assembled at Cape Town harbour to pump the fuel to a waiting tug. "They are pumping as we speak", she said. Conditions were favourable for the operation, she said. The operation could be hampered by a pair of cold fronts expected to hit Cape Town at the weekend.
22 August 2003
The ship-to-ship transfer from grounded c.c. Sea-Land Express began at midnight last night and the salvage team on board the casualty report that the fuel removal operation is proceeding well, with pumping rates of 50 tonnes per hour being achieved. Oil is being pumped out of those tanks considered to be most at risk of being breached should the vessel's structural condition change and it is expected that the team will be able to make good use of the fine weather being experienced at present. Yesterday a chemical engineer was flown out to the casualty in order to assess the risk posed by the cargo classed as hazardous and confirmed that salvage personnel and crew on board, as well as members of the public, were under no direct threat. Contingency plans for the removal of that cargo are in the process of being put in place. Sea-Land Express rests in a sandy gully approximately 200m from the beach. Renewed attempts to re-float the container vessel will be made once it is deemed that it has been lightened sufficiently. This will entail the removal of the fuel, which also reduces the risk of oil pollution, as well as cargo should this be deemed necessary.
24 August 2003 – A powerful Russian-built helicopter, capable of airlifting tons of hazardous cargo from the grounded c.c. Sea-Land Express, will be flown from Pretoria to assist with the salvage operation off Sunset Beach in Milnerton. "Contingency plans for the removal of the cargo classed as hazardous, should it be deemed necessary, are in place and to this end a powerful Mil helicopter is en route to Cape Town", said Clare Gomes of salvage company Smit Marine South Africa. The helicopter is expected to arrive in Cape Town tomorrow. The operational details of the plan are being finalised and will be available by tomorrow. If the go-ahead is given to remove the hazardous cargo, the 20-ton containers that are accessible will be unpacked and re-packaged in smaller loads to be airlifted. The helicopter is capable of lifting 4.8 tons of cargo, while the most powerful helicopter based in Cape Town is capable of lifting only 1.5 tons, Gomes said. "The waste-tech bins that are used to transport cargo by helicopter weigh about three tons on their own, so the Mil helicopter would be able to carry only about 1.5 tons of cargo on each trip", she said. There has been concern about leakages from one of the containers filled with hazardous cargo, but Gomes said a chemical engineer had gone on board and supervised the cutting of a hole in the container, which was then filled with carbon dioxide to render the contents not inflammable. "All containers classed as hazardous are being monitored constantly by the on-board chemist and salvage team and they are not deemed to pose a threat to the safety of salvage personnel or crew on board the Sea-Land Express or the greater public at this time", Gomes said. Meanwhile, the salvage team made good progress on Friday night and reported yesterday that about 1,500 tonnes of oil had been pumped off the vessel to empty those tanks most at risk if it were structurally damaged in the bad weather expected to reach the Cape early this week. Calm seas enabled ship-to-ship transfer to the receiving vessel, Pacific Worker, which returned to the port of Cape Town when its tanks were full to discharge the load. The weather forecast indicated that high-swell conditions would be experienced until late on tomorrow, Gomes said.
25 August 2003 – Bad weather forced salvage experts to abandon attempts to pump more fuel oil from the tanks of stricken c.c. Sea-Land Express, carrying radioactive uranium, yesterday, and to leave the vessel beached near Cape Town. Better weather in the morning had raised hopes that the salvors would be able to resume the pumping operation, halted by storms on Saturday (23 August) after they had taken out some 1,500 tonnes of fuel oil from the vessel's own supplies. "The bad weather is rolling in as we speak, they couldn't pump any more", said Evelyn John Holtzhausen, spokesman for the ship's owners US Ship Management (USSM). Salvage operators Smit Pentow Marine will start off-loading fuel oil again once the weather improves, possibly as early this afternoon, shipping sources said. Smit Pentow Marine and USSM said the uranium ore would stay on the vessel as it was "least at risk whilst still onboard under constant monitoring." The Environment Ministry said the uranium ore in three containers was not enriched and therefore had low levels of radioactivity. The ore was headed for Canada, a spokesman for the vessel's charterer, Danish group AP Moeller-Maersk, said. A heavy duty Mi5 helicopter, able to lift around five tonnes, has been called in to take off some of the cargo and is due to arrive late tomorrow. The team hopes to re-float the vessel with the next spring tide, due later this week.
25 August 2003 – The removal of fuel oil from c.c. Sea-Land Express commenced on Friday (22 August). These operations were, however, discontinued on Saturday afternoon due an approaching cold front at Cape Town with anticipated sea swell reaching approximately 5m according to forecast reports. We, however, understand that an amount of 1,500 tonnes of fuel has been removed from the vessel at this stage. The fuel is being pumped to a tug as well as to a small tanker, the Oranjemund, by means of hoses rigged from the casualty. Once weather conditions permit, the receiving vessels will once again proceed out into the bay in order to receive a further quantity of fuel. As far as we understand, further attempts to free the vessel will only continue once the fuel oil has been removed. The next spring tide later this week will see further attempts by the salvors Smit Marine.
26 August 2003 – A helicopter is due to arrive in Cape Town tomorrow, ready to lift some of the hazardous cargo off grounded c.c. Sea-Land Express. The containership is likely to remain wedged in a sandy gully for several more days yet, with salvage teams hoping the next spring tides later this week, combined with favourable weather, will provide a 48hr window in which to drag the vessel free. News that its cargo included about 50 tonnes of uranium ore being exported from South Africa to Canada raised local concerns about the possible risk of radio-active contamination should the 1980-built vessel break up and lose its containers overboard. However, the ship is being constantly monitored and remains upright and structurally sound, Clare Gomes, of the salvage firm Smit Marine South Africa, said yesterday. A dredger able to move up to 9,000 tonnes of sand an hour has also been chartered to help clear the sandbar from around the port shoulder of the vessel since the ship is now buried too deep for tugs to pull it clear. Sea-Land Express grounded just 200m from the beach north of Cape Town a week ago during a severe winter storm and several efforts to re-float it have failed. The ship is insured for liabilities with the UK P&I Club and classed by ABS. Nearly half the 3,700 tonnes of fuel oil had been removed from the 2,686 ton vessel by Saturday before bad weather forced the suspension of lightering operations that are now due to resume later today. All the tanks considered most at risk should the condition of Sea-Land Express change have now been emptied of heavy oil. The vessel, owned by US Ship Management and on charter to Maersk Sealand, is carrying 33 containers loaded with hazardous cargo, of which three contain uranium ore. All are being constantly monitored by a chemist and the salvage team and are not deemed to be a safety risk. Nevertheless, a helicopter able to lift up to 5 tonnes has been mobilised, while a crane is being assembled on board the ship. The plan is to remove some of the hazardous materials from the containers, repackage them into air loads, and transfer them by helicopter to a designated part of the port. At no stage will the helicopter fly over land with its payload.
25 August 2003 – The master of c.c. Sea-Land Express has been relieved of his duties and will be replaced by a master appointed by the USSMI. Clint Eisenhauer for US Ship Management Inc. (USSMI) today said Frederick Allen had been removed over the weekend. He will not be allowed to leave the country, since South African authorities still want to question him. The crew is still on the stricken ship. Eisenhauer did not make available the name of the new master who would take over soon. Continuous efforts to pull the ship off the sandbank have failed. In a bid to lighten the ship, salvors Smit Marine started pumping fuel oil from its tanks. The fuel is pumped via a pipeline to tankers anchored some distance into the sea. But today, bad weather once again halted the transfer of oil. It has become a race against time, since the ship must be as light as possible before another attempt is made to pull it off the sandbank during the next springtide at the weekend. More bad weather is forecast for tomorrow. The weather is set to clear on Wednesday. Another cold front hits the Cape next weekend. Meanwhile, suction hopper dredger HAM 316, which was on its way to Durban, was called back to Cape Town. The dredger will be used to remove sand from around Sea-Land Express to make it easier for tugs to pull it off the sandbank. This despite a decision last week that such a manoeuvre would be too dangerous. The dredger, which can work in 5m-deep water, is capable of removing 9,000 tons of sand per hour. A Russian MI-8 helicopter, which can lift loads of between 4.5 and 5 tons at a time, is expected in Table Bay harbour tomorrow afternoon. Weather permitting, the helicopter will start removing dangerous cargo from the ship. At the same time, salvage teams will continue pumping the rest of the fuel oil from the vessel. A crane will be erected on the ship to facilitate the handling of freight on board. Salvage teams today started attaching structural tension metres to the hull of the ship. This would provide salvors Smit Marine with an early warning system in case the hull starts to break up. Eisenhauer today said there was no reason to believe that Sea-Land Express would not be seaworthy after its ordeal. "At present we are concentrating on salving the ship, and we have not reached the conclusion that it won't be seaworthy again. Speculation at this stage would be premature."
26 August 2003 – The first officer made a mistake. The cause of the grounding of c.c. Sea-Land Express is as simple as that, said Captain Bill Demier of the South African Maritime Safety Authority. When Sea-Land Express began dragging its anchor and drifting towards a sandbar off Sunset Beach in a storm at about 04.00 last Tuesday, the ship's first officer, who was officer of the watch, did not appreciate the danger his ship was headed for, Dernier said. The vessel tracking system operators at Port Control had warned the ship's watch-keepers their vessel was dragging its anchor. "What I have to stress is that Port Control is an advisory body, not a regulator or authority", Dernier said. Port Control issued a warning and the ship's officer of the watch then had to make his own decisions. "He did not sense the urgency and as a result his decisions were not relayed to the ship's engineers sharply enough." The ship's master was not on the bridge at the time. Early today salvors Smit Marine reconnected the oil pipeline from the ship to product tanker Oranjemund and had begun pumping, despite a 2m swell. "Oranjemund can take 2,000 tons of oil at a time and that will mean all the oil will be off once pumping is completed", Dernier said. "If the sea is too rough, they will release Oranjemund and connect tug/supply Pacific Worker, which can handle the weather, but not take more than 500 tons at a time." Salvors have a 48hr spring tide "window" at the weekend to try again to re-float the stranded ship. Plans have also been made to remove potentially toxic industrial alcohols from the ship by helicopter. A dredger is expected to reach Cape Town late today to help free the stranded vessel, while a large helicopter is being sent to help lift toxic cargo off the ship. The salvage team have four chances to shift Sea-Land Express -- the high tides are at 04.11hrs and 16.29hrs on Friday and 04.50hrs and 17.08hrs on Saturday. "We have a 48hrr period to do it", said Clare Gomes, spokesperson of Smit Marine South Africa. "We are getting dredger HAM 316 to come here. It will arrive in about 24 hours' time. The barge is able to work in a water depth of 5m minimum, but it needs favourable conditions. It will be deployed at the bows of the ship to clear away the sand bar there. The re-floating plan has two phases. First we need to swing the bows and then we have to pull the vessel off the sand. We hope to swing the bows to a point where the ship's heading will be offshore. Every degree extra that we can turn it will improve the chance of the ship coming off the beach." The dredger can move up to 9,000 tons of sand an hour and would have to get into action tomorrow and Thursday to clear the way for the ship's bow to swing. A chemist from Smit's head office in Rotterdam has also arrived in Cape Town to analyse the chemicals in 33 hazardous materials containers on board the ship and to work out the correct procedures for dealing with it. Gomes said the operation to remove hazardous cargo would be undertaken under controlled conditions. "The salvage team, as well as specialist sub-contractors, have over 400 hours incident free experience in this kind of operation. A hazmat technician will supervise the hazardous cargo removal operations and a hazmat paramedic will be onboard. All containers classed as hazardous are being constantly monitored by the on-board chemist and salvage team and they are not yet deemed to pose a threat to the safety of salvage personnel, crew or the public."
27 August 2003 – Salvors have warned that the odds are stacked against the bid they will make this weekend to re-float c.c. Sea-Land Express. Speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town yesterday, Smit Marine spokesman Dave Main said that as salvors they had to be optimistic. But when asked what the odds were of pulling off the vessel, he said: "If you had to speak to mathematicians and scientists, the odds are, quite frankly, that it's not going to come off. If we just look at the bare figures, and with the sandbank the way it is now, we can't actually physically lighten it enough to just float it off. We're bargaining that, hopefully, the elements will assist us, and, of course, that the dredger will assist us." He said the attempt would be made on Saturday, when there is a spring high tide. His comments came as Environment Minister Valli Moosa called for South African authorities to be given greater powers over vessels in situations such as Sea-Land Express had been in. South African Maritime Safety Authority operations manager Captain Bill Dernier again confirmed yesterday that the vessel was repeatedly warned by port control of the danger it was in before it went aground last week. Another spokeswoman for Smit Marine, Clare Gomes, said later yesterday afternoon that the removal of the oil from Sea-Land Express, suspended at the end of last week as the weather deteriorated once more, had still not resumed. The swell was running too high for the safe operation of the string of hoses used to pump the fuel -- of which there are over a 1,000 tons still on board -- to waiting tugs and a tanker. Asked if they hoped to resume work tomorrow, she said: "We're hoping for any time. The guys are on standby 24 hours a day." If weather permits during the week, the salvors plan to use a high-volume dredger to remove sand from the seaward side of the gully that is trapping the vessel. "We believe that if the weather allows us, and we can move enough of the sand on the port side, this will push the odds up. But we certainly can't guarantee it", Main said at the media briefing. He also confirmed plans to start removing some of the "least risk" items of hazardous cargo on board the vessel, which is in 33 containers on the "above decks" portion of the ship. Removal of this material will be done by helicopters. These will be flown along a "safe flight path" over the sea, between Sea-Land Express and an area specially designated within Cape Town harbour's container depot. No part of the route will be over land. Besides two local helicopters, consideration was being given to hiring a giant Russian MI-26 helicopter. This would be capable of lifting off some of the containers, up to a maximum of 18 tons. The full containers on Sea-Land Express weighed between 12 and 30 tons. Main said if the attempt to move the ship this weekend -- pulling is set to start at about midnight on Friday, and would continue, depending on conditions, through into Sunday -- was not successful, the salvors would look at other options. These included building a causeway to the ship from Sunset Beach, and using a crane on a "jack-up barge" alongside Sea-Land Express to remove the cargo. "If we don't get it off on Saturday, there's a long wait for the next suitable time", Main warned.
27 August 2003 – The fuel oil has been pumped off c.c. Sea-Land Express, the joint operations committee set up to deal with the incident said today. It said the pumping operation, suspended at the weekend (23-24 August) due to bad weather, recommenced yesterday evening, and an additional 1,400 tons of oil had been transferred to product tanker Oranjemund by 10.00 today. This brought the total removed to date to 2,800 tons, with 700 tons still on board. The fuel removal will continue today, weather permitting. Dredger HAM 316 began working to clear the sand bar around the vessel yesterday evening. Once all the oil is removed, salvors will concentrate on the dredging operation so as to increase the chance of re-floating the vessel on the next spring tide, this weekend. As many as five tugs could be used in the operation. About 48 hours prior to the re-floating attempt, Sea-Land Express will be cleared of the seawater pumped into its ballast tanks to maintain its position. Stress monitors fitted around the vessel's hull indicate that its condition is still sound.
27 August 2003 – Salvors Smit Marine hope to remove the last fuel oil from c.c. Sea-Land Express by midnight, spokesperson Clare Gomes said this afternoon. "We have 250 tons left", she said. "Tanker Oranjemund is full, and it's going back into port, so, weather permitting, the remaining 250 tons will go into Pacific Worker." Dredger HAM 316 had been working through the day to clear the sandbar around the port shoulder of the vessel. Stress monitors fitted to Sea-Land Express hull indicated its condition was still sound.
2 September 2003 – Severe weather yesterday hampered attempts to remove hazardous cargo from the c.c. Sea-Land Express. Dave Main of salvors Smit Marine said: "The weather was quite bad and there were strong gales blowing, so we could not get close to it." He said the safety of personnel and protection of the environment were priorities and so the helicopter pilots and salvage team had decided not to attempt further work.
2 September 2003 – Forced to take a break during the worst of the weather yesterday, salvors are at it again to remove hazardous cargo from the main deck of c.c. Sea-Land Express. Helicopter flights over the ship will continue today as trained hazardous materials experts lead salvage workers in a process to unpack some of the 33 dangerous cargo containers aboard the ship and load its contents into large skips. The skips are flown to and from the ship by a powerful Russian-built Mi-8 helicopter. Despite the inclement weather, the ship's hull has shown no signs of stress, said David Main of salvors Smit Marine South Africa. The ship's ballast tanks have been filled again with sea water after they were emptied to help lighten the vessel for the weekend's failed attempts to free her from the sand. With her ballast tanks full, the ship is sitting rock solid on the sand off Sunset Beach. Meanwhile, the dredger HAM 316 is still eating away at the sandbank nestling Sea-Land Express. Three-dimensional surveys show that the ship had ended up in a gully between the sand bank and the shallows.
2 September 2003 – This morning the hazardous cargo removal operation on c.c. Sea-Land Express recommenced with the Mi8 helicopter flying a full load to the secure reception facility in the port and then returning to the container ship to assist in moving the crane to the next area of operation on board. Improved weather conditions forecast for the next three to four days will give salvors a "good weather window" in which to continue with hazardous cargo removal, the dredging operation and survey work in the area. The dredger will continue working until such time as a further re-floating attempt is considered viable, either before or at the next spring tide on 11 September. During the night, assisted by the tug connected up and operating at 60 per cent power, the casualty moved an additional 2ú seawards. Due to the improved weather conditions, the tug has now disconnected in order to allow the dredger to work the area more effectively, which it cannot do effectively while the tow wire is in place. The tugs will transfer fresh water via a pipeline to Sea-Land Express during the course of the day today for use by the ship's crew and the salvage team.
3 September 2003 – Dredger HAM 316 has made good progress in removing sand in the vicinity of grounded c.c. Sea-Land Express and is taking advantage of the "good weather window" to optimise the chances of re-floating the vessel prior to or at the next spring tide. The hazardous cargo removal operation continues. The team began unpacking the fifth container, flammable liquids, yesterday with approximately 10 tonnes of hazardous substances being airlifted off Sea-Land Express. Unpacking of the sixth container will commence this afternoon and contains inflammable liquids, propyl acetate.
4 September 2003 – Yesterday, eight loads of hazardous cargo were airlifted from grounded c.c. Sea-Land Express and flown to the secure reception facility in the Port of Cape Town by the Mi8 helicopter. The hazmat team on board is in the process of removing the contents of the sixth container classed as hazardous and will continue to take advantage of the good flying conditions. As safety of personnel and the protection of the environment are paramount during this operation, activities will be suspended should the helicopter pilots and salvage team deem conditions to be unsafe. A total of 33 containers containing cargo classed as hazardous were on board the Sea-Land Express when it ran aground. A full hazmat team is flown to the casualty daily to co-ordinate hazardous cargo removal in conjunction with the salvage team. The dredger HAM 316 has made good progress in removing sand in the vicinity of the grounded vessel and is taking advantage of the "good weather window" to optimise the chances of re-floating the vessel prior to or at the next spring tide. All of the pumpable heavy fuel oil has been removed by the salvage team. A total of 245 tonnes of diesel (gas oil) remains on board for use by the vessel's generators and main engines. Further consolidation of the unpumpables has taken place (143 tonnes) and only residues remain in the exposed port side wing tanks. Stress monitors fitted to Sea-Land Express's hull indicate that its overall condition is still sound. The vessel is "settling" into its new position and the level of stresses are continuously reducing. Stresses being experienced by the vessel are above normal but within the acceptable range -- given the grounding forces that the fully laden container vessel is experiencing. Since Friday last week, the casualty has moved 180m forward and pivoted 27ú seaward.
8 September 2003 – A report from the salvors of c.c. Sea-Land Express, dated 7September, states: Dredger HAM 316 resumed working in the vicinity of Sea-Land Express at 23.00, 6 September, after the vessel's rudder was repaired during the course of the day. The dredger sustained damage to its port rudder on Friday evening (5 September) while working to increase the water depth seawards of Sea-Land Express, where significant progress has been made over the past seven days. Preparations continue for the next re-floating attempt, which will take place on the next spring tide from 11September. To this end, salvage tug John Ross is at anchor off Milnerton and will be connected up towards the middle of the week. The tug will be assisted by two other tugs during the spring tide re-floating attempt. Another spring tide re-floating opportunity is available to the salvage team at the end of September, from 27September. The hazardous cargo removal operation continues to make good progress, and the team yesterday completed airlifting off the fungicide cargo of the eighth container and have begun working on the ninth, which contains 30 25kg drums of turpentine substitute. As safety of personnel and the protection of the environment are paramount during this operation, activities will be suspended should the helicopter pilots and salvage team deem conditions to be unsafe. A total of 33 containers containing cargo classed as hazardous were on board the Sea-Land Express when it ran aground. A full hazmat team, comprising technician, chemist and paramedic, is flown to the casualty daily to co-ordinate hazardous cargo removal in conjunction with the salvage team. All of the pumpable heavy fuel oil has been removed by the salvage team, and 235 tonnes of diesel remain on board for use by the vessel's generators and main engines. Further consolidation of the unpumpables has taken place and only residues remain in the exposed portside wing tanks. Stress monitors fitted to the hull of Sea-Land Express indicate that the vessel's overall condition is still sound. Stresses being experienced by the vessel are above normal but within the acceptable range, given the grounding forces that the vessel is experiencing. Since Friday last week (29August), the vessel has moved 180m forward and pivoted 27ú seaward.
9 September 2003 – An attempt will be made to re-float grounded c.c. Sea-Land Express on the afternoon high tide of Friday, 12September, when forecast conditions are deemed to optimise the casualty's chances of being re-floated. Should forecasted conditions prevail, the dredger HAM 316 will halt operations on Thursday evening (11September) in order that a tug can be connected to hold the casualty in place, as she will be deballasted overnight and into Friday and lightened in preparation for the re-floating attempt. The dredging operation will be able to continue for an additional 24hr period. The last effects of the spring tide of 12 September will assist the salvage team's re-floating efforts. Salvage tug John Ross and the tugs Pacific Worker and Pacific Brigand will be used during the attempt. A total of 33 containers containing cargo classed as hazardous were on board the Sea-Land Express when she ran aground. A total of 11 of them have been unpacked and their contents safely airlifted to the secure reception facility in the port, by MiB helicopter. The hazardous cargo removal operation will continue this week during daylight hours, weather permitting, until Thursday evening, when preparations for the re-floating attempt get underway and the vessel is deballasted. As safety of personnel and the protection of the environment are paramount during this operation, activities will be suspended should the helicopter pilots and salvage team deem conditions to be unsafe. A full hazmat team, comprising technician, chemist and paramedic, is flown to the casualty daily to co-ordinate hazardous cargo removal in conjunction with the salvage team. All of the pumpable heavy fuel oil has been removed by the salvage team. A total of 225 tonnes of diesel (gas oil) remains on board for use by the vessel's generators and main engines. Further consolidation of the unpumpables has taken place, 143 tonnes, and only residues remain in the exposed portside wing tanks.
10 September 2003 – A report from the salvors of c.c. Sea-Land Express, dated today, states: Preparations continue for the next attempt to re-float Sea-Land Express. Weather forecasts continue to indicate that the conditions on Friday (12 September) will be favourable, with an average swell of 4m being predicted. Given the vessels grounding position, the swell will assist in moving it free of the sandbar and out into the channel of increased water depth created by dredger HAM 316. The dredger has continued to make significant progress this week and, given the good weather conditions, has been able to work very close to Sea-Land Express. The dredger will halt operations tomorrow afternoon in order that one of the tugs can be connected up to hold the casualty in place as deballasting begins, a process that will take between 16 and 20 hours. All three tugs to be used in the attempt -- salvage tug John Ross, tug/supply Pacific Worker and tug/supply Pacific Brigand -- will be connected up by tomorrow evening. A total of 33 containers containing cargo classed as hazardous were on board Sea-Land Express when it ran aground; 12 of them have been unpacked and their contents safely airlifted to the secure reception facility in the port by helicopter. The hazardous cargo removal operation will continue until the deballasting process begins tomorrow afternoon and the vessel becomes lively as it is lightened. As a precautionary measure, dispersants will be introduced into the vessel's double bottom tanks, where only oil residues remain, and the tanks will be pressurised. Should these tanks sustain any damage and be breached during the course of the re-floating process, the effect on the environment would be minimal. However, stress monitors fitted to the vessel's hull continue to indicate that its overall condition is still sound. Stresses being experienced by the vessel are above normal but within the acceptable range, given the grounding forces that the fully laden vessel is experiencing.
11 September 2003 – Operations to remove hazardous cargo from Sea-Land Express were halted yesterday as the casualty became "lively" on the afternoon high tide, rolling approximately 5ú to each side. This indicates that dredger HAM 316 has made significant progress in breaking down the sandbank around the vessel and bodes well for tomorrow's re-floating attempt. In order to keep the vessel in position, an additional 1,500 tonnes of ballast water was taken on yesterday evening. In preparation for the re-floating attempt, the deballasting process began this morning and one tug will be connected up by lunchtime in order to hold the vessel in place as the ballast water is pumped out and the casualty becomes lighter. Weather forecasts continue to indicate that the conditions tomorrow will be favourable, with an average swell of 4m being predicted. Given the vessel's grounding position, the swell will assist in moving it free and out into the channel of increased water depth created by the dredger. All three tugs to be used in the attempt -- salvage tug John Ross, tug/supply Pacific Worker and tug/supply Pacific Brigand -- will be connected up by this evening. The contents of 12 of the 33 containers classed as hazardous have been unpacked and safely airlifted to the secure reception facility in the port by helicopter. The hazardous cargo removal operation will not recommence until the outcome of the re-floating attempt is determined. Certain containers stacked on deck have been re-secured as a precautionary measure in anticipation of the re-floating attempt. The anchorages in the vicinity have been cleared by the National Ports Authority in order to give the salvage team a wide area in which to work safely. The area will be patrolled to ensure that no sea traffic is in the vicinity and members of the public are again requested to keep both sea and air space clear during the operation. Should the vessel be re-floated, it will be towed west of Robben Island where the towing connections will be reconfigured and various inspections undertaken, prior to the vessel being brought into Cape Town.
13 September 2003 – The stranded c.c. Sea-Land Express has resisted yet another attempt to pull her off Cape Town's Sunset Beach. Three tugs with a combined pulling power of 400 tonnes battled in vain to move her on a spring tide yesterday afternoon. Salvage master Dave Main of Smit Marine said the swell they had hoped for which would have helped lift the vessel off the sandy bottom did not materialise. "We got her to come slightly to port. A little was achieved but nothing to get excited about." He said the tugs would maintain tension on the towing hawsers (wire-ropes) while dredger HAM 316 came back in to move more sand. Asked when another attempt would be made Main said: "We'll have to see how it goes with the swell. Without the swell we won't achieve very much. If we get swell and the dredger removes the sandbank we'll look at trying tomorrow."
13 September 2003 – C.C. Sea-Land Express, which ran aground in Table Bay during a storm last month, is free at last. Two salvage tugs pulled it off a sandy bottom shortly after 15.00 this afternoon, to the joy of watchers on shore. "We jumped up and down", said Clare Gomes, spokeswoman for salvors Smit Marine. "We're thrilled its the first time I've shed a tear for a ship." All previous bids failed. Several previous bids to re-float the vessel had failed, and authorities had at one stage considered building a causeway through the surf to take off its cargo of containers. Gomes said today the dredger HAM 316 worked throughout today to clear a channel for the vessel after she moved some 250m on a high tide at 04.00. As the afternoon high tide approached, two tugs, the Pacific Worker and the Pacific Brigand, were connected to it, waiting for a third, the John Ross, to secure a tow. The pair applied 40 per cent power and the vessel moved. "At 15.20 we waved her goodbye and off she went", Gomes said. The tugs would take the Sea-Land Express one nautical mile west of Robben Island where it would be fully inspected. There it would be ballasted again to keep her steady and the two lines reconfigured preparatory to entering Cape Town harbour, probably in the next 24 hours.
14 September 2003 – C.C. Sea-Land Express, which was re-floated yesterday after being aground on Table Bay's Sunset Beach for about a month, was brought into Cape Town harbour today. Spokesperson for the vessel's operators, Evelyn Holtzhausen, said the vessel was moored at the container dock and was being unloaded this afternoon. He said it would soon go into the dry dock for certain inspections and possible repairs.
15 September 2003 – C.C. Sea-Land Express was successfully re-floated at 15.24, local time, South Africa, 13 September. The re-floating attempt of last Friday was unsuccessful because the expected high swell never materialised during that day. Dredger HAM 316 therefore recommenced with removing more sand around Sea-Land Express. On Saturday morning the re-floating attempt was renewed and the salvors managed to pivot the vessel further seawards and move it approximately 270m further out to sea. The afternoon high tide on that same day was sufficient to enable the salvage tugs John Ross, Pacific Worker and Pacific Brigand to free Sea-Land Express and tow it out to sea.
8 August 2003 – Tasman Spirit
Salvors in charge of the operation to salve crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit and its cargo of crude oil near Karachi have said that a first day of lightering has "gone well". A first phase of the operation to remove cargo from the stranded tanker began late yesterday. By later today, a spokesman for the Tsavliris Salvage group confirmed that about 8,000 tonnes had been safely offloaded aboard the lightering tanker Fair Jolly, which is to shuttle the oil between the casualty and another aframax, the 96,500dwt Endeavor II. "The weather was favourable today", said the company spokesman. "Things are rolling." Despite the unpredictability of weather in the monsoon season in Pakistan over the next few days, Tsavliris was hopeful of accelerating the rate of cargo discharge. "We started off with only one pump and only for the last part of the day we have had three pumps in operation, so the rate should increase." He declined to estimate at this stage how long the lightering operation may take. Tasman Spirit was reportedly carrying 67,000 tonnes of light crude for the Pakistan refinery when it was swept onto a mud-bank. Some oil spilled after the incident but this was reported to be a minor quantity. In recent days, there has been no report of any further spillage. By the weekend, Tsavliris had about a dozen personnel working aboard the casualty including salvage masters, engineers, equipment operators and a chemist. Last week the ship was reported to be firmly embedded in hard mud, with monsoon weather directly lashing the vessel. But, contrary to a scare in a local newspaper that reported the tanker could break up, Tsavliris said there were "absolutely no signs of a deterioration in its condition." On the other hand, the salvors have no access at the moment to tank areas that may have been damaged during the grounding.
10 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust said today that lighterage operation to pump out crude oil from the grounded crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit is going on smoothly through a smaller tanker, Fair Jolly, which is ferrying around 8,000 tonnes of crude oil a day. The oil is being dumped to another large tanker, Endeavor II, and will later be offloaded at Karachi Port. The whole operation is expected to take one more week, the official said. There has been no spillage because of the anti-pollution measures, he pointed out. A tug from Dubai, carrying submarine pumps, hoses and other equipment, and another one from Sri Lanka are assisting the operation. Some crew members were also removed from the vessel.
11 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust said today that grounded crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit is in a stable condition and there is no substantial change in the position of the vessel. The lighterage operation of the vessel commenced on 7 August by putting lighterage craft, chemical/oil carrier Fair Jolly, with a maximum capacity of 8,000 tonnes, alongside the grounded vessel. KPT in an official statement said that pumping operations to defuel Tasman Spirit continued around the clock and the first loading consignment was completed at 18.00, 8 August. A total of 6,374 tonnes was pumped into Fair Jolly, which went alongside crude oil tanker Endeavor II at night. Due to the pumping speed it has taken some time to discharge the oil. However, measures are in hand to increase this rate by adding more pumps. The discharge of cargo finished at 19.00, 9 August, after which Fair Jolly proceeded to Tasman Spirit to fill a second consignment of oil for lighterage. This was its first round trip; it would take around ten such trips to fully offload all oil from the grounded vessel. After Tasman Spirit is totally defuelled, re-floating will be placed in hand. All available measures are in place to control pollution, both by the salvors and the Karachi port authorities. The operation is being closely monitored by the Marine Pollution Control Department of the KPT, amongst others.
13 August 2003 – Port authorities have siphoned some 16,000 tonnes of crude oil from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit, which ran aground off the coast of Karachi, but tens of thousands of tons of oil remain on board the stricken vessel, port officials said on Monday (11 August). The operation to remove the oil began last week, almost two weeks after the vessel ran aground during monsoon rains. An oil tanker from the United Arab Emirates, a tug from Dubai carrying submarine pumps, hoses and other equipment, and a vessel from Sri Lanka were assisting in the operation. Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad, general manager at the Karachi Port Trust, said a very small quantity of crude oil had leaked during the operation, but not enough to cause environmental problems. Local media reports, however, said the spilled crude was polluting the coastline and spreading a bad smell in the area. A local news channel reported the crude was leaking from two tanks of the grounded vessel. Arshad denied that, saying the crude that had spilled leaked out when a second vessel was transporting oil off the vessel. He did not say how much oil had spilled. Arshad said officials were discussing measures to limit any pollution along the coastline. The rescue operation is being conducted close to a popular sea resort, Sea View, in Karachi.
13 August 2003 – The coastal area surrounding the Pakistani port city of Karachi is facing environmental disaster as oil leaks from grounded crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit. Officials say the vessel has started to crack in the middle and could split in two by the end of the day. The vessel was carrying more than 67,000 tonnes of crude oil when it ran aground close to Karachi on 28 July. The authorities are trying to protect the coastline but a huge slick of oil has already hit the shore. Eyewitnesses say hundreds of fish and turtles are lying dead on the beaches. About 19,000 tonnes of crude have been transferred from the tanker since Saturday, but officials have now given up trying to save the vessel. They fear the Tasman Spirit, which was chartered by Pakistan's national shipping corporation, may explode as it sinks. "The salvage operation has been abandoned and crew evacuated", Admiral Ahmed Hayat, the chairman of the Karachi Port Trust, said. "There are fears that within the next 12 hours the ship could break into two." He said booms were in place to protect the port from oil spillage. An environmental adviser to the provincial government, Faisal Gabol, said that the incident could turn into a major disaster. He said all marine life in the area could be destroyed.
13 August 2003 – Crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit, which is aground off Karachi, has started breaking up and officials said today they feared a major oil spill in the next 12 hours. A thick layer of oil covered the sea near the vessel, and witnesses said they saw crude oil gushing out of a crack which has appeared in the middle of the vessel. "The vessel has seriously been damaged", said San Van Der Laan, a salvage expert from The Netherlands. "It is a matter of hours before the vessel will break." Tasman Spirit, carrying 67,500 tonnes of crude, grounded just outside the channel leading to Karachi Port on 27 July and three attempts to tow it away have failed. "Every high and low tide increases the stress, and widens the crack", Laan said. Port authorities said they had transferred an estimated 19,000 tonnes of crude since Friday (8 August), but an estimated 44,000 tonnes were still on board. Karachi Port Trust officials said the vessel started cracking after low tides caused buckling today. "We anticipate a massive oil spill, polluting the coastlines of Karachi and hitting the marine life", said a Port Trust official.
14 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said this morning that grounded crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit is still in stable condition despite developing a crack. However it has been abandoned and all crew have been removed as a precaution. Sea level is rising and it is feared that it may enter the vessel. Salvage operations have been stopped and precautionary measures are being taken to meet any eventuality if oil spill occurs. The Sindh Government has also declared an emergency and a large number of law enforcement agencies have been deployed all around the beach area to prevent any mishap. In addition, a sand wall is being built to stop oil seepage to the area. The stranded oil tanker is now carrying about 40,000 tonnes of crude oil, as more than 20,000 tonnes has already been taken out through two lighterage vessels. In view of the latest developments, the law- enforcement authorities closed the 14km coastline to the public. About 1,000 policemen were deployed to close the roads leading up to the beach to vehicular traffic. The chairman of the KPT, Vice Admiral Ahmad Hayat, during a briefing yesterday, said the next 12 to 14hrs were crucial. The rate of oil spillage is also slow and it is hoped that by the time the situation turns critical, the KPT will be in a position to fight a fire, and combat pollution, he added. He said an aircraft loaded with pollution-control equipment, including booms, had already arrived here from England, and a C-130 aircraft from Singapore is due on Thursday night with 10 tonnes of chemical dispersant. Another dispatch of 250 tonnes of dispersant will be arriving on Friday. Mr Hayat said a C-130 craft would begin spraying dispersant on Friday morning. He said efforts were being made to save the marine ecosystem and overall environment along the coastal line, and as such people should not get panicked. It is reported that the International Tankers Association, federal and provincial governments and their respective environmental protection agencies, fisheries department and maritime security agency have all been informed about the situation, he said. Meanwhile, a three-member team, belonging to International Tankers Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), arrived with their specialist equipment from the UK and started helping the port authority and installed booms for any major oil spillage from the declared abandoned vessel as oil spillage continues from cracks which appeared early in the morning. The team also visited the coastline and asked the concerned authorities to remove debris from the beach and adjoining areas of coastline to handle pollution related problems after spillage from the oil tanker.
14 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has said that crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit has broken in two, however, some of the pipelines connecting the oil storage tanks are still intact. An official of KPT said that tank numbers one and two are safe but the third has leaked. As a result, heavy gases have engulfed the whole area, making the rescue and salvage operation difficult.
15 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said, today, that lightering operation of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit will take ten more days, if it starts tomorrow morning, provided both parts remain stable. Otherwise they will wait until parts are disintegrated. Chairman of KPT, Vice Admiral Ahmad Hayat, disclosed this at a press conference, in Karachi, this afternoon. Two lightering tankers, Fair Jolly and Endeavor II, are still in port, to start syphoning out of crude, for final offloading at Karachi Port, he added. He said they would also try to re-float both parts, as soon as lightering operation is completed. An aerial spray is planned to diffuse carbon content from the water and other chemicals present in crude oil; 10 tonnes of dispersants are arriving tonight and more is available. He said it is difficult to estimate how much oil was spilled, until Tasman Spirit is completely unloaded.
15 August 2003 – Pakistani authorities have begun a massive clean-up campaign to tackle the thousands of tons of crude oil that have spilled from wrecked crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit off Karachi. Maritime experts say 12,000 metric tons of oil have spilled into the Arabian Sea while another 35,000 are still on board the vessel. Dead fish and turtles littered two main beaches and a key mangrove forest had been badly hit, environmentalists said, while doctors reported dozens of people suffering from nausea. The authorities tried to play down fears of extensive environmental damage, saying the light quality of the crude meant it would evaporate quickly. However, environmentalists have expressed concern about the ability of the authorities to cope with the oil spill. Worldwide Fund for Nature spokesman Hammad Naqi Khan questioned whether the Karachi Port Trust and the relevant safety organisations had enough booms and pumping equipment for the job. A salvage operation is being conducted to remove the remaining oil before the vessel breaks up completely. Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad, general manager of the Karachi Port Trust, said tug boats were being used to hold together the vessel while the oil still on board was taken off. He said there was a danger that pipes on the vessel might rub against each other and cause sparks that might blow the vessel up. However, the trust was confident the spillage had been stopped. The owners of the vessel, who are bearing the cost of the clean-up, said the Iranian light crude could be easily dispersed. Greece-based Polembros Shipping said 20,000 tonnes of the 67,000 tonne cargo had been removed from the vessel. "Given the cargo involved, it is anticipated that the clean-up will proceed rapidly and with little long-term impact", the company said in a statement. However, a thick layer of oil was reported to be covering much of the coastline around Karachi and port authorities have threatened to fine the owners 10 million Pakistani rupees. IUCN -- the World Conservation Union – says 16km of the Arabian Sea coast has already been polluted.
16 August 2003 – Senator Ahmad Ali, Federal Minister for Communications and Vice Admiral Ahmad Hayat, Chairman of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) jointly said today that lighterage operations to syphon out remaining crude oil from broken parts of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit would now start from tomorrow, as aerial spray of dispersants chemicals is presently going on. Moreover, both parts are yet to settle. Addressing a press conference in Karachi this afternoon, they said about 6,000l of oil dispersant have been sprayed so far. Beach cleaning of 7km area is being done day and night, by a work force of 30. The spilled oil will be disposed off under the supervision of UK experts, in a specially built reservoir in Karachi. The chairman of Karachi Port Trust said that the master, chief officer and engineer of Tasman Spirit are still in Karachi.
17 August 2003 – Rough seas today forced port authorities to delay transfer of about 35,000 tonnes crude oil from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit that ran aground and split into two along the Arabian sea coastline of Karachi "We have almost installed our heavy equipment and are waiting for a favourable tide to start transfer of oil from the tanks which are still intact on the ship", General Manager Karachi Port Trust Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad said. Authorities are cleaning 16km of beach front littered with dead fish, turtles and mangrove seedlings. Some 20,000 tonnes of oil was transferred from the vessel in a salvage operation before it was abandoned on Wednesday (13 August) as the vessel began to break up. Tanker Fair Jolly, having capacity of 8,000 tonnes of oil, has been anchored alongside the marooned vessel and the experts are installing generators, pipes and connecting equipment to start the operation. "We may start this operation in some hours if the sea allows us", Arshad said. Karachi Port Trust chief Ahmed Hayat said the vessel needed about 36hrs to transfer the oil in its tanks and shift it to the port. "This exercise may take about ten days to complete", he said. A Singaporean C-130 aircraft resumed its operation spraying dispersants on the polluted sea this afternoon.
17 August 2003 – While KPT is under heavy criticism by different sections of people, the salvage team restarted transferring crude oil stored in the safe portions of the broken crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit today. Sources privy to salvage operations said after re-launching of the lighterage operation of the ship, first loading of tanker Fair Jolly, started at 15.45 today. Fair Jolly is likely to ferry about 6,000 tonnes of oil for further deposition in the larger tanker Endeavor II. As the sea condition in the vicinity of Tasman Spirit was favourable, the small tanker was anchored along it today. In the first phase of the renewed operations, salvors and the KPT authorities have planned to execute three trips by Fair Jolly and as such there is a likelihood of pumping out about 20,000 tonnes of oil, according to the source. The General Manager (Administration) of Karachi Port Trust, Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad Khan, said yesterday evening that lighterage operations had begun and oil was being taken out of tanks located in the forward portion of the broken ship. Fair Jolly would ferry about 8,000 tonnes of oil in its first trip, he added, saying that the ferry process was time consuming and next loading of this small ship would be possible after 36 to 40hrs. In the meantime, according to him, spray of dispersant from the air entered its third day today. He said 45 tons of dispersant as part of the pollution fighting operation had so far been dropped on the areas affected with the oil slick. However, Mr Khan maintained that no aerial spray was being done on vegetation or mangroves. He said beach cleaning works were also going on with the support of naval and army personnel, KPT staff and different civic agencies and the City District Government Karachi. On the other hand, groups of citizens are still unhappy with the measures taken so far. They also blamed the KPT and other concerned departments for negligence. It was further claimed that affected sands and other debris were not being lifted swiftly. Different organizations, including Pasban and Citizens Coalition for Protection of the Coastline, also held demonstration and walk in the city today. The Pasban is of the view that about one million Karachiites, a large number of fishermen and numerous marine life were affected due to environmental catastrophe caused by the massive oil spill. While seeking a judicial enquiry into the ship disaster, it claimed that about 9,000 tons of crude oil spilled in the sea due to the negligence of the KPT.
18 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said today that the lighterage operation from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit has been resumed since last night, and about 6,500 tonnes of crude oil, after being taking out by this morning, through tanker Fair Jolly, is now being pumped into tanker Endeavor II. Officials said Fair Jolly will take four or five trips before Tasman Spirit is to be completely "washed". Both parts are still stable, making the operation possible, he added. In addition to these operations, the KPT authorities, with the help of city government and foreign experts, are cleaning the 8km stretch of beach front, littered with dead fish, turtles, and mangroves, etc. KPT will make a plan of re-floating of both parts as soon as the lighterage operation is completed.
18 August 2003 – The lighterage vessel, chemical/oil carrier Fair Jolly (4,498gt, built 1980) sustained some damage when the lighterage operation was resumed last night, said Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad, General Manager of Karachi Port Trust at a press conference today. He said due to bad weather and monsoon the accident happened when Fair Jolly was alongside Tasman Spirit. Later, they succeeded and started syphoning out of crude oil.
19 August 2003 – Managing Director of Karachi Port Trust Brigadier Iftikhar Rashid said the transfer of remaining crude oil from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit, which grounded near Karachi port, will be completed within ten days. A total of 25,500 tonnes crude oil has been transferred including transfer of 6,550 tonnes out of 76,532 tonnes of oil in 14 tanks of the vessel after re-launching the lighterage operation, he said yesterday, addressing a briefing at KPT head office. The oil leakage from the broken oil tanker has stopped completely, he said, all KPT tugs are busy in sucking oil from the sea surface in the affected areas. Spraying in the affected areas has been stopped on advice of experts of Oil Spill Resource Limited after they surveyed the affected beaches and said the oil slick was on a very small scale. The fishing in the sea was underway as usual except the oil-affected areas, he said. The people living adjacent to affected areas suffered eye-burning and breathing problems due to a mixture of benzene gas in the air after the oil spill. He added the situation has improved, as there was no longer benzene gas in the air. On behalf of the citizens of Karachi, senior lawyer Kamal Azfar yesterday filed a public interest litigation in the Sindh High Court against the Karachi Port Trust and the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) for not handling adequately the grounding of the tanker near Karachi beach. Mr Azfar prayed in his suit that the management of the KPT and the PNSC be ordered to pay a sum of Rs10m to the City District Government Karachi as penalty because the leakage of oil had not merely affected marine life, but also posed serious hazards to the health of citizens.
19 August 2003 – Six Pakistan-based insurance companies are likely to suffer a loss of about Rs40m and Rs45m on account of the oil spill from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit, but international insurers will have to pick up 90 per cent of the cumulative loss, amounting to between Rs350m and Rs400m. Pressure is expected to mount on Karachi Port Trust (KPT) next week when oil recovery operations are over and the ship will have to be dismantled before being towed ashore in pieces. "International surveyors will demand (an exact) measurement of silting levels in the port's sea access channel", an insurance operator said today. International surveyors may blame high silting level of the sea access channel for the mishap and may try to pass on the responsibility to KPT authorities. "Agreed that Tasman Spirit is 24 years old and is a single-hull ship but the Greek contractor Tsavliris Russ and his international insurers and re-insurers have a very high stake and will (try to) pass on the responsibility to others for this mishap", he said. The insurance executive said international insurance surveyors may ask the KPT authorities to inform them when the last dredging was carried out at the port and how it was monitored. "Is there any system to monitor silting at Karachi port?", he said. The Pakistan National Shipping Corporation is now being blamed for chartering a single-hull oil tanker. The KPT is being charge-sheeted for allowing this ship to enter the berth. Sources say that the master of one of the two tugs that towed the ship from the outer anchorage to the channel had warned about the impending mishap. It had gone unheeded. But the six Pakistan-based insurance companies that had booked a marine insurance of the crude oil worth about Rs800m are relatively better placed as 90 per cent of their business passed on to reputed international re-insurers in Japan, Switzerland and Germany. The six companies and their respective share in the marine insurance of the oil loaded on Tasman Spirit are Central Insurance, 23.5 per cent, Eastern Federal Union, 21.5 per cent, Adamjee, 20.9 per cent, New Jubilee Insurance, 17.6 per cent, Habib Insurance, 11.5 per cent and New Hampshire, 5 per cent. A rough estimate shows that about 18,000 to 20,000 tonnes of oil, worth about Rs240m, has already leaked out of the ship and the remaining quantity is expected to be retrieved. Insurance sources are confident to recover 45,000 tonnes of oil from the ship by next week. Insurance sources calculated the cost of the oil spill based on the commodity's price at about Rs12,000 a ton. Of this loss, the six Pakistani insurance companies will bear 10 per cent, or about Rs22.4mn. The international re-insurers will pick up more than Rs200m loss. The recovery of the remaining 45,000 tonnes of oil will be done at 40 per cent of the oil price. Roughly Rs220m will also be shared in same ratio with 90 per cent of the price tag to be picked up by international re-insurers and 10 per cent by the Pakistani companies. Pakistan refinery, the importer of the light crude oil from Iran, had paid a heavy premium amounting to Rs2.7m for the cargo on the oil tanker. Normal premium rates, insurance sources say, are Rs700,000 for the same quantity of oil if it is loaded on a ship that is less than 15 years old. Though bearable, more than Rs40m loss in a single insurance undertaking is being considered as the highest marine loss so far in Pakistan.
19 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said today the speed of lighterage operations has been enhanced and hopefully crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit would be completely empty within this week. The spokesman added that besides chemical/oil carrier Fair Jolly, barges were also being used to reduce the time of Fair Jolly trips from Tasman Spirit and crude oil tanker Endeavor II. So far three barges employed have taken out nearly 700 tonnes of crude and during the trips of Fair Jolly, the barges keep the pumps busy, thus reducing operation time. Last night Fair Jolly discharged approximately 6,500 tonnes of crude oil and this morning it was again taking cargo from the vessel. A top official of Malta Maritime Authority is expected to arrive here tomorrow to ascertain details of the ongoing enquiry for finding out reasons of the mishap and damage to the environment caused through this vessel. The local administration is still busy cleaning up the affected area of the beach, which is now closed for fishing and picnics, besides the colleges and schools in adjacent area as well. Also the official of KPT said that Fair Jolly was not seriously damaged but rubbed when a rope of a tug broke during the lighterage operation.
20 August 2003 – Pakistani port officials are questioning the crew of the crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit to determine how it ran aground, causing a spill that has polluted beaches and killed marine life. Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad, General Manager of Karachi Port Trust, said the master and others had been asked to stay in Pakistan
21 August 2003 – Bad weather and high tides have halted efforts to siphon off thousands of tonnes of crude oil from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit grounded off Pakistan's port city of Karachi, government officials said today. About 150 government workers and foreign experts are still cleaning up nearby beaches, removing dead wildlife and blackened sand after about 12,000 tonnes of crude spilt from the vessel last week. "We cannot say when the draining operation will resume as the weather forecast for the next two days is not very encouraging", Iftikhar Ahmed, a senior official at the Karachi port, told Reuters. Officials say about 23,500 tonnes of crude oil remain on Tasman Spirit, which ran aground in July and split in two last week. They do not see any immediate danger of further spills as the tanks have been sealed. A 16km stretch of Karachi's eastern coastline has been badly affected by the spill and authorities have prohibited people from visiting the area. Foreign experts from several European countries and local aid workers have been helping the clean-up effort, which another port official said would last for more than a month. "It will take five to seven weeks to complete the cleaning", the official said.
22 August 2003 – Bad weather and rough sea yesterday caused heavy spillage of crude oil from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit, besides holding up the lighterage operation being undertaken by the Karachi Port Trust (KPT). According to sources, 30 per cent of the remaining oil is contained in the forward part of the grounded ship and 70 per cent in the aft part. Salvors are concentrating on de-fuelling the aft part of the ship while the forward one, which is left abandoned for the moment, has grounded further. Since the sea is rough, the heavy tides, inundating the forward part of the ship, are bringing back oil residue while recoiling to the shore. Confirming the heavy operational spillage, Captain Hashim Mujtaba, P&I Club correspondent said that far more than normal amount of oil was seen around the ship. The sides and bottom of most of the tanks was damaged and the spillage was obvious, he said, adding that the rough weather was aggravating the situation. According to Captain Mujtaba, the operational spillage is going on without break; sometimes it is in litres and sometimes in tonnes. However, he said that there was nothing unusual in such a spillage. "It is bound to happen as the ship is exposed to rough weather conditions", he said. About the amount of oil spilled on that particular day, he said it might have exceeded 10 tonnes. "Actually it depends upon the weather. If the weather is calm, the ship remains still and the spillage is negligible, while bad weather causes jolts to the ship which result in significant leakage", he added. He said if the bad weather forecast by the local Met Office proved true, it was sure to cause even more spillage. "The spillage does occur during lighterage operations. However, it is not more than a few litres", said general manager administration KPT Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad when asked about the operational spillage. "It was not a major concern", he said. Replying to a question, he said the grounded ship still had around 20,000 tonnes of oil, as 19,100 tonnes and 11,000 tonnes had been transferred respectively in the first and second lighterage operation. Meanwhile, a meeting was held at the KPT head office to take stock of the situation. Chaired by Federal Minister for Communications Syed Ahmed Ali, the meeting was attended by Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh Malik Faisal Gabol, the federal environment secretary as well as foreign and local experts. The participants of the meeting were taken to the KPT Pollution Control Centre in order to acquaint them with the ongoing operation. They also took a cruise to have a closer view of the grounded vessel.
22 August 2003 – Crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit: Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said today that rough sea has been hindering the resumption of lighterage operations for the last three days. A number of attempts were made today to bring chemical/oil carrier Fair Jolly alongside Tasman Spirit in order to start lighterage operations but all were unsuccessful. The vessel has slightly listed but also submerged deeply in sea surface. So far 30,000 tonnes crude oil has been syphoned out in addition to the tanker's own fuel oil. Some fresh spillage also reported.
23 August 2003 – Vice Admiral Ahmad Hayat, Chairman of Karachi Port Trust (KPT), said today that with the devoted help of the Pakistan Navy and foreign salvor steps are being taken to lighterage and re-float the grounded and broken crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit. However, unpredictable weather and high tides are making operations difficult. The ill-fated vessel has now developed further cracks last night and a substantial amount of crude oil also spilled out of it. Hence it had to be dispersed through spray from a C-130 aircraft. An official pointed out that the front part of the vessel was totally submerged while the rear part also imbalanced and was further grounded due to the tidal pressure, causing considerable spillage of oil. The aft section had subdivided into two more parts and may break further, he added. Brigadier Arshad said that initially the two broken parts of the vessel had not physically separated from each other, but now there was no physical contact between the two. He, however, said that the oil had not entered the port area and the traffic operation had been running as usual. He said due to the new development, the lighterage operation could not be carried out.
24 August 2003 – Efforts to remove tonnes of oil from a crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit, wrecked off Pakistan's east coast, suffered another set back today when chemical/oil carrier Fair Jolly (4,498gt, built 1980), involved in the salvage operations, broke down, an official said. "Salvage ship Fair Jolly is under repair as it had developed some technical fault", Karachi Port Trust official Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad said. Barges were expected later today to resume the operation to remove 18,000 tonnes of oil still on the Tasman Spirit, which ran aground off Karachi on 27 July. "We have arranged three barges of 2,000 tonnes capacity each that are expected to start oil salvage operations later this evening or tonight", Arshad said. A fourth barge with a capacity of 1,000 tonnes had set sail from the south-western Gwadar coast and was expected in Karachi by late afternoon, he said. The Fair Jolly's Dutch Captain, Van Lamb, and a Greek crew member, Nick Ppas, had meanwhile fallen sick and were recovering at a Karachi hospital, Arshad said; "The leakage of oil from the damaged tanker is still continuing but it was minor". The United Arab Emirates-registered Fair Jolly, with a capacity of 8,000 tonnes, had been ferrying oil from the Tasman Spirit onto another UAE vessel, the Endeavour II, anchored at Karachi port. Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, who visited Karachi today, has ordered a probe into the reasons for the spill. Port officials said they believed navigational error was the cause. Authorities have closed the Karachi beach to the public and do not expect to open it for another month as workers toil to remove blackened sand and piles of dead marine life soaked by oil.
24 August 2003 – Chemical/oil carrier Fair Jolly has been damaged while salvaging crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit while alongside the grounded vessel to siphon out the remaining quantity of crude oil yesterday, according to Karachi Port Trust sources. It is reported that the bridge plate of tanker No. 3 and some portion of the keel were damaged. The Fair Jolly is being repaired at Berth No. 6, and after getting repaired it would be used again for lighterage operations from tomorrow.
24 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said this afternoon that lighterage operations have been resumed around 13.30hrs through Pakistan Naval vessel Gwadar and barges as chemical/oil carrier Fair Jolly is damaged. It is estimated that Gwadar will pump in 500 tonnes and barges 200 tonnes today respectively. It is reported that a gap of 5m to 6m has developed vertically on both sections of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit. A fresh leakage is also reported. Sources pointed out that rough weather has caused many problems. The Fair Jolly, according to sources, will take one or two days to have repairs to bridge plate No. 3 and keel.
25 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said today that a Pakistan Navy Ship Gwadar and a Teli Barge have successfully retrieved 260 tonnes and 160 tonnes of crude oil respectively, from the drowning sections of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit yesterday against expected withdrawal of 500 tonnes and 200 tonnes. The shortage, a source of KPT pointed out, is due to air bubbles in tanks of both of these lighterage vessels and barge. He said that the lighterage operation has received another setback when the Fair Jolly got damaged last Saturday (23August). As a result, instead of waiting for another lighterage vessel to come from UAE, we requested PN and they have immediately provided us a small capacity vessel. He said another barge, Viqas, having capacity of 260 tonnes, is also used, which is now discharging the same quantity in another lighterage vessel Endeavour II, stationed since the start of the operation in the vicinity of Karachi Port. The total off-loading in Endeavour II has now reached over 31,000 tonnes. He said this morning vessel Gwadar is being again placed alongside Tasman Spirit to take a second delivery. It is estimated if the bigger lighter vessel is not employed the lighterage operations may take one week more.
25 August 2003 – Chemical/oil carrier Fair Jolly, having a capacity of 8,000 tonnes, has been transferred to mooring from berth today, according to Karachi Port Sources. Underwater divers are surveying the damage. It has taken out 30,000 tonnes of crude oil from Tasman Spirit so far and was damaged while shifting alongside due to rough weather and high tides, but the final report will ascertain the real cause, an official of the port said. A chief engineer from the vessels' owner is also coming to examine Fair Jolly.
25 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said this evening that the two sections of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit lie in the same position and there is no change in their physical status as well, according to a press release of KPT. It is said the lighterage operation recommenced yesterday with the help of the Pakistan Navy. Crude oil was transferred from Tasman Spirit through PNS Gwadar as well as barges; 700 tonnes were transferred yesterday and another 600 tonnes today. This cyclic operation would continue till the complete siphoning of oil, which is likely to be complete within seven to ten days, weather permitting. The aerial spray was not resorted to because no large pool of oil was observed, though tugs and boats continued spraying dispersants. No oil spill was observed. The scale of the operation will continue as per the present level. The impetus to this operation would be given on complete siphoning of oil and when there is no threat of oil spill, this is likely to take place within a week's time. According to a press release, all these data were released at a meeting held in KPT today to organise and integrate all the resources for impending Operation Beach Cleaning. It was chaired by Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad Khan and attended by government officials Dr Hugh Parker (lTOPF) and Mr Richard Tatner (OSRL).
26 August 2003 – Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad, General Manager of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said today that with the assistance of Pakistan Navy Ship – PNS Gwadar – and three barges, the lighterage operation of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit would be completed in a week's time provided weather remains favourable. Another barge will be employed today to speed up operation and with a daily siphoning out at the rate of 2,000 tonnes. He said chemical/oil carrier Fair Jolly has unfortunately gone out of service due to damage making the operation lengthy. He ruled out the necessity of calling another lighterage vessel form Dubai to ease the operation. However, he said a fresh aerial spray of dispersant chemicals will be exercised tomorrow in order to mitigate the oil spill around the wrecks of Tasman Spirit. He said about 10,000-12,000 tonnes of crude oil is still in fragile tanks of the vessel while 32,000 tonnes has been retrieved till yesterday. No confirmed figure of the oil spill is being released by KPT as they are waiting complete withdrawal of oil. However, it is roughly estimated from current data that about over 15,000 to 20,000 tonnes were spilled. Brigadier Iftikhar has said that no current leakage is observed. About abatement of pollution around the beach, he said 150 people under the supervision of foreign experts are working on a two-shift basis and the whole operation would be over in six weeks provided no further leakage is reported. He said a plan with the consultation of Pakistan Navy, Environmental Consultants, Federal Fisheries Department, civic governments and other stakeholders is being made to make the beach as good as it was. He, however, pointed out that air pollution will take some time before it is settled.
26 August 2003 – Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad, General Manager of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said today that lighterage vessel, chemic/oil carrier Fair Jolly is out of service due to damage. The owner is yet to conduct a survey to get a full report of the damage. Earlier, a source said its keel and tank were damaged and need repair.
27 August 2003 – Pakistani authorities raced against time yesterday to drain crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit as it leaked more crude, raising fears of another major spill. "There was a light spill from the rear portion of the tanker this morning", Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad, a senior official of the Karachi Port Trust, said. Efforts to stabilise it have so far failed because of rough seas whipped up by the monsoon and high swell in the Arabian Sea. "There are fears that the rear portion will break soon", said another senior KPT official, who asked not to be named, adding that the stem section was under tremendous strain from changing tides. President Pervez Musharraf visited the beach on Monday and directed the authorities to initiate speedy measures to prevent further leaks and control environmental damage. The draining operation was delayed last week when the small salvage tanker Fair Jolly developed a hole in its hull and was replaced by the Pakistan Navy oil tanker, Bahadur.
27 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said that both the sections of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit continue to be in the same position with no change in their physical condition, according to a press release.
Meanwhile, lighterage operation has been continued with the courtesy of PNS Gwadar and commercial barges hired by the salvors, PNS Gwadar making a fourth trip today. The oil de-syphoned to date is approximately 33,000 tonnes. Another ship, chemical tanker Sea Angel with the capacity of 6,500 tonnes, arranged by the salvage team, left Fujairah for joining in this critical operation. KPT has pointed out that no oil leakage has been observed from the ship. Pollution, inside the harbour, has reduced to a negligible level. KPT equipment remained deployed in normal condition. Aerial spray has not been resorted to because no large pool of oil was observed. However, salvors and the Greek naval architects assess that due to a list in the aft section of the vessel it may develop crack(s) in this portion. Keeping this concern in mind, shifting of oil from the aft section to the forward portion has been resorted to. It is feared that some spillage may also take place in this eventuality. Counter measures are in place to combat this spillage. Inshore anti-pollution measures, i.e. booms and skimmers, shall thwart this threat. Simultaneously, aerial spray will be conducted to disperse and emulsify the oil heading for the beaches. Contingency plans have been prepared for this worst case scenario.
28 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust said today that lighterage vessel, chemical tanker Sea Angel, having a capacity of 6,500 tonnes, reached the outer channel of port today, around 15.00hrs, to take part in final lighterage operation from the sunken sections of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit. Officials of KPT said that it would be placed alongside Tasman Spirit tomorrow morning, if the weather remains favourable. Pakistan Navy vessel Gwadar and three other commercial barges are taking out crude oil from Tasman Spirit and, as result, the total transferred to crude oil tanker Endeavor II has reached to about 34,000 tonnes today. When Sea Angel is used in operation tomorrow, its two trips will enable the salvor to complete the washing of crude oil from the wrecks.
29 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said this afternoon that chemical tanker Sea Angel came alongside crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit at 08.45 today to take approximately 3,159 tonnes of crude oil from the aft section of the vessel. Both sections lie in the same position and there has been no change in the physical condition of the forward section. However, list of the aft section has gradually increased to about 9ú. It is expected that some time in the afternoon Sea Angel will complete the offloading and thereafter the transfer of crude oil resume from Sea Angel to crude oil tanker Endevour II. The press release of KT added that Sea Angel would again come alongside of Tasman Spirit for its second trip either tomorrow evening or 31 August morning to further offload 2,500 tonnes oil. After this, other items of Tasman Spirit like bunker oil, lubrication oil and batteries would be disembarked. Meanwhile some of lighterage operation has taken place through PNS Gwadar and commercial barges. These have off-loaded 2,551 tonnes of crude oil during the last couple of days. The KPT has pointed out that small quantities of oil had leaked during the day. The pollution control operation continued normally through out the day and about 1,000l of oil was skimmed from boat basin area. Meanwhile, Pakistan's Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali is expected to preside over an important meeting today in Karachi to review ongoing beach clean up operation and other situation which were developed due to oil spill around the beach. The lighterage vessel, chemical/oil carrier Fair Jolly has been repaired successfully, according to its Karachi based shipping agent MM Marine Services (Pvt) Ltd. The vessel was damaged during lighterage operation of Tasman Spirit and a portion of tank and keel were damaged. According to Karachi Port and shipping agent sources, to double check and get a seaworthiness certificate, Fair Jolly will be dry-docked at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works as soon as a dry dock is available.
30 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said, this afternoon, that there has been no change in the physical condition of the forward section of sunken crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit. However, it has a 16ú tilt to starboard, as compared to 9ú yesterday. The posture is getting critical and stability continues to be precarious. The salvage operation is becoming hazardous and dangerous with the passage of time. The operation continues unabated. The KPT, in a statement about lighterage operations, said that chemical tanker Sea Angel has off-loaded 3,279 tonnes and is presently offloading into crude oil tanker Endeavor II, this is likely to be completed by midnight. Hopefully, Sea Angel will also go alongside Endeavor II for its last trip to remove the left over crude, bunker oil, lubrication oil, furnace oil, HSD, etc. Meanwhile, a barge is being placed to take out the bunker oil/crude oil from the vessel. Some spillage continues. Aerial spray was conducted on a patch of oil outside Port Qasim. Some 2,000l of oil was skimmed from the boat basin oil catchments area. Additional booms have been deployed at the boat basin, to deflect the oil to the natural oil catchments areas of OP-1 and boat basin.
31 August 2003 – Pakistani authorities said today they feared the stern section of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit could split open in high tides. Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad, a senior official of the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), said the authorities feared the rear section of Tasman Spirit could break apart under the effects of rough seas and high tides. Cracks had developed in its hull. "The ship has listed to 18ú from 13ú yesterday, because of the high tide. It is a very dangerous posture. At 20+ú, the ship can break up", Arshad said. He said chances of a further oil spill had increased but authorities were trying to empty the ship "as soon as possible." "We will hopefully complete the drainage operation by tomorrow but the operation is becoming dangerous with the passage of time." Environmentalists and doctors say tens of thousands of residents of beachside neighbourhoods and small islands have complained of ailments including headaches, nausea and respiratory problems. Environmentalists say it will take months to clean and restore Karachi beaches now covered with a thick layer of black crude and littered with dead fish, turtles and sea snakes.
31 August 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) under Ministry of communication government of Pakistan today has served a $1bn notice to Asimina Maritime Ltd of Malta, the owner of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit through their shipping agent – Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC). The Senator Ahmad Ali, Pakistan's Minister for Communications, disclosed this at the press conference this afternoon in Karachi. The amount is being claimed on account of damages caused to Karachi beach from an unprecedented amount of 28,500 tonnes of oil spill. The federal Minister said that lighterage operation is expected to be completed this afternoon around 18.00hrs when another lighterage vessel, chemical tanker Sea Angel, will take out final extraction of 2,000 tonnes of crude oil from the sunken vessel. The KPT, although it did not provide berth facility to ill-fated vessel, will file suite separately for services it rendered for lighterage operations and beach clean up operations. On the occasion, Captain Anwar Shah, Director General Shipping and Port who is also in charge of conducting the enquiry to the cause of grounding of vessel said that London based P&I Club, the insurer of vessel, would be liable to compensate, the litigation may take a number of years. He said we have hired a local master mariner cum lawyer Usmani A. lqbal, who, with the assistance of a London based consultant, will prepare all the damages under marine law. Meanwhile, under the directives of President of Pakistan, General Pervaiz Musharraf, a committee headed by the Chief Secretary of Sindh will onward look after the beach clean operation, with the help of all civic federal and provincial bodies.
1 September 2003 – Salvage teams have removed all the oil left aboard leaking crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit off the coast of the Pakistani port of Karachi, authorities say. Workers raced against time to empty the 37,500 tonnes of oil left aboard the vessel, concluding their 15-day operation this evening. The news will come as a relief to Karachi residents, who were warned over the weekend that the tanker could break apart completely and send fresh oil slicks floating their way. That danger has now passed but a 15km stretch of beach remains smothered in oil and the authorities have not said what they will do about it. Some 28,500 tonnes of crude oil have already leaked into the sea since the tanker ran aground in August, the federal minister for communications, Senator Ahmed Ali, told a press conference. However, there was no official statement on when the clean-up operation would commence, or how long it would take. Pakistani officials had earlier estimated that the beach could be cleaned and ready for public use by the end of this month. However, the provincial Environment Minister, Faisal Malik, said that ridding Karachi's beaches of crude oil could take three years or more. The Karachi Port Trust is suing the Pakistani National Shipping Corporation, which chartered the tanker, for a sum of $lbn.
2 September 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said this afternoon that chemical tanker Sea Angel is still alongside of sunken crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit, to pump the remaining quantity of misalliance chemical/bunker oil/lubricants and other residue from the bottom of the vessel to completely wash it. The lightering operation was scheduled to be completed yesterday evening, but, due to high tides, it could not be accomplished. A commercial barge has also been requested by the vessel's owner/salvage team to finally check the vessel before officially closing the lightering operation. Karachi Port Trust said this afternoon that a small quantity of crude oil mixed with water and other residue was extracted from the sunken parts of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit yesterday by lightering vessel Sea Angel with the help of special pumps. KPT officials associated with the salvage team said that two tanks ruptured in post lighterage operations, and as a result, a negligible quantity of oil spilled out. Sea Angel will remain alongside the rear part of Tasman Spirit until all inflammable materials have been removed. The officials said that salvors have yet to come up with a plan to remove the wreck but were sure that it can be done by cutting it. Under the circumstances, it cannot be left there for a longer period as it lies on the mouth of the port channel and remains vulnerable. Chemical/oil tanker Fair Jolly, which broke down during the lighterage operation, is still moored and waiting to be docked at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works for final check-up before it begins a fresh voyage. Crude oil tanker Endeavor II, which is carrying about 39,000 to 40,000 tonnes of cargo will only be offloaded at an oil terminal after resolving the issue of quality and quantity, or as decided by insurance companies.
6 September 2003 – Karachi Port Trust said today that the post lighterage operations from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit were almost completed and chemical tanker Sea Angel was moving away from the sunken parts of Tasman Spirit in order to transfer the lightered oil to crude oil tanker Endeavor II today. The owner of Tasman Spirit is making arrangements to remove the wreck from the mouth of the harbour. KPT officials were informed that a crane with a lifting capacity of 1,500 tonnes and some critical equipment would arrive soon from Dubai and Singapore respectively to assist in removing the wreck.
7 September 2003 – Karachi Port Trust said this afternoon that chemical tanker Sea Angel was offloading crude oil, chemical/bunker oil/lubricants and other residue lightered from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit to crude oil tanker Endeavor II. However, no decision has been taken by insurers as to whether to offload Endeavor II at the oil terminal, Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad Khan, general manager of KPT said today. He said that the port authority was formulating a plan for the removal of the wreck of Tasman Spirit in order to avoid blocking the channel or posing a hazard to other vessels. The owners and salvors of Tasman Spirit should, hopefully, come up with their plan soon, Iftikhar said. He estimated that the removal of the wreck might take a few months, as it requires cutting the vessel up, with the help of cranes. Over 28,000 tonnes of oil was spilled from the vessel, and KPT has issued a notice to the owner through Pakistan National Shipping Corp., the then shipping agent of Asimina Maritime Ltd of Malta, for compensation under the charter clause. Meanwhile, the seven crew members of Tasman Spirit, including the master and the first and second officers, are sill in Karachi and will appear before three ongoing enquiries being conducted by Malta Marine Authority, the Principal Officer of the Mercantile Marine Department of Pakistan and the Director General of the Ministry of Communication's Ports & Shipping Office.
8 September 2003 – Cargo underwriters comprising six insurance companies have moved the court, and arrest warrants are said to have been served on crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit and crude oil tanker Endeavour II owners. Information gathered from market sources suggests that cargo underwriters have filed Admiralty Suit No. 20 of 2003, claiming about $15m against defendant Asimina Maritime Limited of Valetta, Malta, owner of oil tanker Tasman Spirit grounded on 27 July and later broken into two pieces on 13 August. Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL), the importer of light Iranian crude, had paid a heavy premium for this liquid cargo on the oil tanker. The plaintiffs -- Central Insurance, Eastern Federal Union, Adamjee Insurance, New Jubilee Insurance, Habib Insurance, New Hampshire Insurance -- have alleged negligence on the part of the defendant, master of Tasman Spirit, for not being vigilant and entering the harbour channel at the time of low tide. Earlier, the captain of Endeavour II had sought clearance from Karachi Port Trust to sail back as it had planned to off-load and sell the lighterage crude oil at Al-Fujarah in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the money earned would be charged as expenses on various accounts. But the KPT turned down the request, saying that the oil tanker did not pay the port dues for occupying the berth during the lighterage operation. The KPT has claimed its stake in the recovered crude oil from the broken vessel as it had utilised financial resources on lighterage, salvage, spraying, sea and beach cleaning operations. According to Customs rules and regulations, the cargo of any nature whether bulk, break bulk, container or liquid, manifested in Import General Manifest for any destination in Pakistan can not be re-exported or brought back to any other international destination without permission of the competent authority. The Endeavour II was used as bunker or storage tank as the lighterage crude oil was discharged in it by Fair Jolly and Sea Angel. Moreover, the berthing and other charges of tankers Fair Jolly and Sea Angel will have to be borne by the owners of the broken oil tanker, a source said.
9 September 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said, this afternoon, that PN&I Club has appointed Messrs Smit of Rotterdam to conduct a pre-job survey for the removal of sunken parts of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit from the mouth of harbour channel at the earliest. Officials of Smit, stationed in Singapore, have already arrived and began unloading the eighth container, which contains fungicide.
13 September 2003 – Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said this afternoon that crude oil tanker Endeavor II is still detained at Berth 16/17 since 12 September awaiting further order of Sindh High Court. It is carrying a load of 39,000 tonnes of Iranian crude oil transferred from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit. Six local insurance companies have filed Admiralty Suit No. 20 of 2003, claiming about $15m (Rs870m) against defendant Asimina Maritime Limited of Valletta, Malta, owner of the Tasman Spirit. The plaintiffs, led by Central Insurance, have alleged negligence on the part of the defendant/master of the vessel, for not being watchful while entering the harbour channel at the time of low tide. As a result, a huge quantity of cargo insured by Pakistan Refinery was lost.
16 September 2003 – During last week, the experts of Wijsmuller, Smit of Holland and Titan of America have inspected the wrecks of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit, at the mouth of Karachi harbour, and the operation to remove them is likely to begin in a week. Two contracts pertaining to salving the oil tanker and its cargo terminated on Saturday (13 September) and now the owner of the vessel and the P&I Club are expected to sign an agreement for the removal of the wreckage of the vessel, according to Pakistan's port and Shipping Industry sources. It is said the contract of Greek salvage company, Tsavliris, has already terminated and they are now technically required to demobilise within a period of five days. However, their possibility in the wreckage removal process cannot be ruled out, as the firm has also participated in the recent tenders issued on behalf of the owner, sources said. Greek crude oil tanker Endeavour II, having a load of 39,000 tonnes, hired for lighterage operation of Tasman Spirit, is still standing at port, facing litigation from cargo insurers.
17 September 2003 – Justice Mr Ata-ur-Rehman of Sindh High Court on the condition of submissions of cash or bank guarantee has ordered the release of crude oil tankers Tasman Spirit and Endeavour II. The wreck of Tasman Spirit is lying at the mouth of Karachi harbour while the Endeavour II (laden with 39,000 tonnes) is detained at berth 16/17. Six local insurance companies have filed Admiralty Suit No. 20 of 2003 with the local court, claiming about $15m (Rs883m) against defendant Asimina Maritime Limited of Valetta, Malta. The plaintiffs, led by Central Insurance, have alleged negligence on the part of the defendant/master of Tasman Spirit, for not being watchful while entering the harbour channel at low tide. They also pointed out that the pace of lighterage operations was very poor. In addition the lighterage vessels too were outdated or useless. As a result, about 31,000 tonnes of light Iranian crude oil insured by them for the Pakistan Refinery was lost and they paid Rs260m ($4.50m) to the importer. At the request of the defendant, the Sindh High Court has fixed the date of 23 September for the hearing for the submission of rejoinder from the owner of vessel. The plaintiffs are: Central Insurance, Eastern Federal Union, Adamjee Insurance, New Jubilee Insurance, Habib Insurance, New Hampshire Insurance. Meanwhile, according to a report, the Pakistan Ministry of the Interior has put the names of all the crew of Tasman Spirit "in exist control list" so they can not go aboard until they get clearance from the government.
18 September 2003 – Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works said this afternoon that lighterage vessel, chemical/oil carrier Fair Jolly, is still at dock for repair. It had developed a hole in its keel while alongside crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit to extract crude oil. It siphoned out about 30,000 tonnes of crude oil from sunken parts of the Tasman Spirit before having to go out of service. Separately, Karachi Port Trust said crude oil tanker Endeavor II is still detained at port following litigation against it by the cargo insurers.
12 August 2003 – Prestige
Work is well under way to seal cracks in the hull of crude oil tanker Prestige, but a row looks set to blow up over the ultimate fate of the 37,000 tonnes of fuel oil still on board. A consortium led by Spain's Repsol YPF has already stopped leaks in the tanker's bow section, where most of remaining cargo is contained, and is finishing work on the stern section. Trials will be conducted on the wreck later this month to test a plan to remove the oil by gravity using specially designed shuttle bags. Repsol and its partners will use purpose-built "robots" capable of working in extreme conditions to drill into the hull of the vessel, which lies in two halves at a depth of nearly 4,000m off the coast of north-west Spain. However, a fresh controversy is unfolding about who should pay for the operation and what will happen to the cargo if it is successfully removed. Earlier this year, Spanish authorities had asked the vessel's Greek operator, Universe Maritime, and its charterer, the Swiss-based Crown Resources, now operating as ERC Trading, to submit proposals to empty the wreck at their own expense. The companies rejected the argument that they should pay for the oil recovery and complained that the five days notice given to produce these proposals was insufficient. Universe Maritime, citing advice from the International Tanker Owners' Pollution Federation, added that the best option was to leave the wreck untouched because working at such extreme depths increased the risks of further major pollution. But reflecting concerns that the wreck is an environmental time bomb, the Spanish administration has now rejected those arguments and will proceed with the plan to extract the cargo, even though, technically, the hull and the fuel oil inside it still belong to Universe Maritime and ERC Trading. "The two companies have failed to submit a plan to remove the oil from the wreck but the Spanish government has to deal with this because it is causing economic, social and even emotional uncertainty in Galicia", said a spokesman for the Spanish government's commission on the Prestige. Spain will eventually bill the two companies for the costs of the operation, though it is likely that they will contest their liability for these expenses in court. Adolfo MenEndez MenEndez, undersecretary at Spain's Ministry of Public Works, said that ERC had asked for its cargo back in the event that it was successfully recovered. According to the undersecretary, the vessel's charterer had said in its response that it was "not willing to cover the costs of removing the oil and that if anything was recovered, the cargo was theirs."
18 August 2003 – The damage caused by the oil slick from crude oil tanker Prestige which sank off Spain last year will likely exceed that of Exxon Valdez disaster, according to a report released today which criticised the Spanish government's handling of the catastrophe. "It is very probable that the damage exceeds that arising as a consequence of the Exxon Valdez accident regarding the extent of the contamination and the importance of the [effect on] fishing activities", said the 600-page report produced by 40 academics for the Barrie de la Maza private economic institute. Since the Prestige broke up and sank off Spain's northwestern Galician coast in November, 78,000 tonnes of fuel residue have been scraped off beaches, according to El Pais newspaper, while the wreck continues to spew out up to 1 tonne per day. The report put the cost of cleaning up the Galician coastline alone at 2.47bn, compared with about $2bn for Exxon Valdez - although damage has spread across the northern Spanish coast to France. The study's authors criticised the Spanish government who had "baselessly" alleged that heavy fuel still in the wreck of the vessel would solidify over time owing to underwater pressure and low temperatures. They said the idea of towing the Prestige to a port as recommended by several scientists rather than tow it out to sea, the eventual government option, "was rejected, among other reasons, for the social and political cost of the massive contamination" it could have caused in the near vicinity.