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23 August 2005 Ratna Shalini (India)
Kenya is in danger of oil spill disasters from single hull ships that call at Mombasa port with large quantities of oil cargo. Paul Musili a maritime law lecturer at Nairobi University said that a revised schedule for the phasing out of single-hull tankers and a new regulation banning carrying of heavy grade oil in single-hull oil tankers entered into force on 5 April, yet Kenya still allows in the ships. Earlier this year (8 April) crude oil tanker Ratna Shalini had its hull punctured, spilling oil into the Kenyan waters. Compensation is yet to be paid because Kenya has no laws to force the ship owners to pay the claim. The owners committed a bond of Ksh78 million ($1 million) which the company is yet to pay.
9 September 2005 Anglian Sovereign (UK)
Anchor handling tug/supply Anglian Sovereign is to be towed to Rotterdam over the weekend to repair its badly damaged hull. At around 2145, 3 September Shetland Coastguard received a may day call reporting that the vessel had run aground at Oxna while on its was into Scalloway. Thirteen non-essential crew were picked up in south-south-westerly force 6-7 winds and airlifted to Tingwall Airport at around 2050 hours by Coastguard helicopter while the master stayed on board. It was re-floated but then struck rocks at the Cheynies before sailing, under its own steam, in to Scalloway escorted by oil support vessel Triton. The hull of the vessel was extensively damaged and its fuel tanks ruptured, leaking an estimated 180 tonnes of diesel oil between Oxna and Scalloway. The ship limped into port at around 0015 hrs. Key members of the council’s ports and harbours operations were scrambled at around 0030 Sunday morning assisted by specialists from Sullom Voe. The team worked through the night trying contain the fuel that had haemorrhaged from tug which was there to protect Shetland from pollution hazards. Divers were sent down to assess the damage to the ship’s hull, which was later described as extensive. Containment booms were in place to stop the fuel from spreading from the harbour while pollution experts battled to control the incident. Diggers were brought in to scoop built up litter from the harbour which was impeding the clean-up operation. On Monday the Maritime and Coastguard Agency issued a warning to shellfish and fish farmers and inshore shellfish fishermen not feed or harvest in areas of obvious pollution. Following an aerial survey on Sunday a statement issued by the service said: “Environmental health officers confirm that the clearance carried out in the harbour on Sunday had been effective. However, there are sheens which extend beyond the harbour boundaries. The location, extent and impact of these will be determined”. “Fish farmers in the vicinity are monitoring the situation on the ground. They report no signs of any pollution affecting these sites and are taking any necessary precautions. Shellfish farmers are also monitoring the situation.” But yesterday general manager of Shetland Aquaculture David Sandison said fish and mussel farmers had not been affected by the pollution. “All of the pollution has not affected any fish farms as most of the pollution is in Scalloway Harbour”. General manager of ports and harbours Jim Dickson paid tribute to everyone involved in the clean-up operation. “Everything came together very quickly” the Scalloway Harbour staff, DLO guys, SBS and Total Waste Management Services. “We had an aerial survey done today (Wednesday) and it is a much improved situation. There is just a bit of a sheen that has hung around from the fisheries college to the Trondra Bridge. There are bits being sucked up but it’s getting hard to find any now. It is extremely small now. There will still be guys working until the end of the week”. The Anglian Sovereign is owned and operated by Lowestoft firm Klyne Tugs. Director Simon Field said he was unable to comment until the inquiry was completed. “We have our own people carrying out our own investigation. I do not wish to make a statement at the moment. We are also waiting for the result of the police inquiry.” Mark Clarke of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency confirmed that Klyne Tugs have a “dry” ship policy which results in dismissal if breached. He said: “Our own inspection people are working with the police. There may be charges that come under the Merchant Shipping Act”. “An aerial survey has been carried out and there was a sheen around Scalloway but this has been considerable reduced. a lot of it has cleared”. “Our investigation branch is up and have been talking to the police then interviewing the crew”. “Of the 180 tonnes of diesel that was released 96 tonnes have been recovered to the shore side tanks and much of the 84 tonnes will be displaced or evaporate. this is a considerable lesser amount”. “The vessel cannot be moved at the moment. When it is moved it will have to be towed. There is a marine surveyor coming up with a replacement tug on Friday. There will also be a skipper from the Klyne fleet.” Sister vessel Anglian Earl is expected to arrive today to take up the duties of the ill-fated tug. Anglian Sovereign is expected to be towed to Rotterdam within the next two days for repairs to the extensive damage to the starboard side of the hull. Repairs are expected to take around three months. The ship’s master was breathalysed by police after the vessel limped in to Scalloway on Sunday morning. He is due to appear at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Tuesday.
14 September 2005.
The master of anchor handling tug/supply Anglian Sovereign has been charged with being more than three times over the legal limit of alcohol. Peter Leask, who lives in Shetland, appeared in private at Lerwick Sheriff Court today. He is facing five charges under Maritime and environmental legislation. Mr Leask made no plea or declaration and the case was continued. Three investigations into the accident are under way. The tug has gone to Rotterdam for repairs.
15 September 2005 Assam, India
A massive crude oil spill in Assam has triggered panic with hundreds of people fleeing for safety, officials said yesterday. A spokesman of the state-owned Oil India Limited (OIL), India’s premier oil exploration firm, said the spill began late Tuesday (13 September) in a well near a tea garden in Dikom, about 520 km east of Guwahati. “We have been partially successful in checking the flow of oil gushing out of the well although it would take some more time to control the spill completely,” GK Talukdar, OIL’s group general manager, said on telephone from its headquarters in Duliajan in eastern Assam. “We do not know for sure if the spill was a result of some sabotage by militants or an accident. Our priority now is to check it and we can investigate later on as to how it happened.” Oil authorities have shut down operations in the area in view of the spillage. “We are using high pressure fluid to keep the area cool and then trying to close the valves to plug the leakage,” he said. There are no people living at least 300 metres near the oil well although the area is surrounded by a tea garden. Witnesses said the gushing crude oil had spilled over to the tea garden.