Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 25 April 2008



(2008), "Pollution", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 17 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/dpm.2008.07317bad.006



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Disaster database From: Disaster Prevention and Management, Volume 17, Issue 2.

1 July 2006 Bulou Ni Ceva, Fiji

Opposition Leader Mick Beddoes has called for the immediate removal of the stricken passenger (cruise) Bulou Ni Ceva from a reef in Rotuma to prevent an environmental disaster. He said there was a risk that oil and fuel from the ship would seep into the ocean if the Government did not speed up the removal process. He said the matter needed urgent attention. He warned the ship was an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Mr Beddoes said if the vessel was not removed, oil and fuel would spill into the ocean creating an environmental disaster for the people of Rotuma. He said the response from proper authorities was too slow and the delay would not do much to help the problem. The crew of the stricken vessel were being fed and clothed by the Rotuman people but no help had been forthcoming from the owners of the vessel. He said it was a very serious matter that needed immediate attention. A team was assigned to leave this weekend in a chartered airplane to assess damage done to the ship. Kadavu Provincial Council chairman Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo said the team would include officers from Fiji Islands Maritime Services Authority, Kadavu Shipping directors and their insurance brokers to assess the damage. “We are trying to ask the Transport Ministry to help us on the issue and we have been negotiating for a plane to be chartered to Rotuma,” he said. He said the 30 crew members including the master of Bulou Ni Ceva, were being sheltered at one of the villages on Rotuma and looked after by the chiefs and villagers. “The trip would mostly be to assess the condition of the boat and see if it can be salved or not and the directors of the company will also be part of the trip. “We will also be visiting the crew and bringing them back with us after the assessment has been completed,” he said. He said the weather in Rotuma was really bad and it was the main reason why the ship was still on the reef after almost a month.

3 July 2006

A team that left last Thursday (June 29) to assess damage to passenger (cruise) Bulou Ni Ceva is expected to return with the crew early this week. The team reached Rotuma early on Saturday morning. Rotuma parliamentarian Jioji Konrote said the team would return with the 30 crew members, including the master of the vessel, who were being sheltered and looked after by the people and chiefs of one of the villages on Rotuma. Mr Konrote said the team consisted of representatives from the shipping company, the environment department and marine surveyors. Mr Konrote said the vessel should be removed immediately to prevent an environmental disaster as 13,000 litres of fuel in the vessel could destroy the marine life in Rotuma waters. Mr Konrote said the matter needed urgent attention. Meanwhile, Opposition leader Mick Beddoes said accepting an insurance payout for Bulou Ni Ceva would be a better alternative for its owners then a salvage operation. Mr Beddoes said although the company was doing all it could to fix matters, there was a danger that with a $1million cover, the owners might be looking more keenly at a insurance payout rather than salving it. Mr Beddoes said salvage operations would cost up to $300,000. However, unexplained delays are increasing the risk of a failure in the salvage operations and the potential environment disaster that will follow if the good whether changes and the vessel begins to break up, he said.

4 July 2006

Passenger (cruise) Bulou Ni Ceva, which ran aground near Rotuma, poses a potential threat to the islanders and their surroundings, says the Rotuma Council. The Council has raised its concern about the Bulou Ni Ceva with the relevant authorities, said council chairman Tarterani Rigamoto yesterday. He said the concerns were raised with the environment and marine departments, who advised the council to wait for the findings of a team that left last week to assess the damage to the vessel. The crew of the vessel and the assessment team returned early yesterday morning. Rotuma parliamentarian Jioji Konrote said the team was expected to present its findings soon to the Government. He could not specify what the findings were. Mr Konrote said the urgent matter was the removal of the vessel to prevent an environmental disaster because fuel spillage would destroy the marine life in Rotuma. District officer Jovesa Vocea said of the 30 crew members, four engineers were still on the island to look after the vessel. The Kadavu Shipping Limited owned-vessel ran aground near Lopta village, Oinafa last month.

6 July 2006

Owners of passenger (cruise) Bulou Ni Ceva are waiting on word from insurance companies on salving of the vessel. “We have done all that is needed to be done from our part,” Kadavu provincial Council chairman Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo said. “We are waiting on the insurance company for their assessment of the ship so it can be salved as soon as possible.” Ratu Josateki said they were concerned as well with the side effects resulting from the vessel. “The council is concerned with the side effects that will be caused by this but we are hoping the insurance company is quick with its work so we can do away with it.” He said the ship was insured for $1.3 million with Dominion Insurance. Dominion Insurance referred all questions to the ship’s insurance broker, Aon Risks. An agent of the insurance broker, who did not wish to be named, said they would send a team to assess damage to the ship. The Rotuma Council in earlier reports said the vessel posed a potential threat to the islanders and their surroundings.

7 July 2006

Insurers of the Kadavu Holdings island passenger (cruise) Bulou Ni Ceva returned last night from inspecting the ship aground off Rotuma. Kadavu company manager Ratu Sela Nanovo said representatives of Aon Risk, the insurance broker, and Dominion Insurance were expected to meet with Kadavu Holdings today to discuss options. The province needs to determine whether to salve the vessel. Ratu Sela said he would tell the media of developments after the meeting.

8 July 2006

The owners of passenger (cruise) Bulou Ni Ceva plan to siphon the fuel into empty drums to avoid an environmental disaster. Kadavu Holdings Company’s manager Ratu Sela Nanovo said 36 drums of 30-litre capacity were being transferred to fill the 200-litres of fuel that is estimated to be in the vessel. Mr Nanovo said the company has taken the initiative to prevent an oil spill from happening if the ship sustained more damage. Department of Environment director Epeli Nasome said the safety of the transfer of fuel from the ship to drums rested solely on the system used. “It all depends on the fuel transfer system used because it should be checked for drips,” said Mr Nasome. “The department should have been consulted on the spill but that hasn’t happened and I hope the National Oil Spills Committee has been consulted,” he said. “The committee is normally consulted at times like this when there is a fear of oil spill, on the best and safest way of transferring fuel from the ship.” Mr Nasome said members of the committee included the Maritime Department, National Fire Authority, the oil companies and the Environment Department. However, he understood that two Marine Department staff had been to Lopta and may have advised the ship owners.

14 July 2006

The owners of passenger (cruise) Bulou Ni Ceva cannot remove fuel from the ship until insurance companies complete a report on the grounded vessel. Kadavau Holdings Limited manager Ratu Sela Nanovo said most people blamed the company for not having the ship removed, almost a month after it got stranded off Rotuma. However, he said the two insurance companies involved AON Risk and Dominion Insurance, were causing the delays. AON Risk’s Paul Dunk said he could not comment because he was not aware of Ratu Sela’s comments. “We have been accused of ignoring the oil spill because of commercial considerations but that is not true,” said Ratu Sela. “During the first two weeks after the ship ran aground, there was no way for us to get to the island because there were no boats, plane and no form of communication,” he said. “Towards the second week, government provided a vessel for our team to travel on but the insurance team were not able to travel with us.” “The team reached Rotuma last week and carried out interviews with the final crew and I hope the report will be compiled by the end of the week.” “Once that report by the insurance team has been compiled, we will know where to go from there,” he said. He said arrangements had been made for 36 empty 200-litre drums to be taken to the island but the company couldn’t siphon fuel out of the ship because they would be liable for lawsuits if there was a spill.

16 July 2006

An insurance company says assessment of damage on passenger (cruise) Bulou Ni Ceva grounded off Rotuma is still being carried out. Dominion Insurance says it is not fair to blame it for delay in completing assessment on the vessel as it took time to do the job properly. The vessel has been stuck on a reef for over a month. Dominion Insurance manager client services Vikash Kumar said they were waiting for their loss adjuster’s report in order to be in a position to make a comment. “We cannot just write a cheque to be given out. We are waiting for the report from our loss adjuster who is carrying out an investigation and assessment of the damage,” he said. Mr Kumar said inspection of the vessel and interviewing of all the crew and the captain was over. Ship owners Kadavu Shipping claim the inspection process was stopping it from removing fuel from the vessel.

6 July 2006 Erika, Malta

The Total oil group will be prominent among the 15 defendants who will go on trial in Paris from December 4 on charges of responsibility for the sinking of tanker Erika off the French coast in December 1999 and for the pollution disaster which ensued. Total is accused of having caused marine pollution and having endangered human life by chartering the ill-fated tanker despite knowing it to be unsafe. Three separate group companies will reply to charges at the trial, Total SA, Total Transport Corp and Total Petroleum Services, as will the group’s head of shipping, Bertrand Thouilin, who was head of legal affairs and shipping and trading division safety at the time of the catastrophe. The group can be expected to defend itself vigorously, however. It has already rejected claims that it had effective control of Erika at the time of the break-up and the group’s lawyer repeated this week that the accusation against it had no basis in maritime law, which he said could not be interpreted on the basis of emotions generated by an event. The other corporate defendant will be Italian classification society Rina, whose executive Gianpiero Ponasso will also appear as an individual defendant. Among the nine other individuals on trial will be Erika’s Italian owner Giuseppe Savarese and his two associates Mauro Clemente and Alessandro Ducci, master Captain Karun Mathur and former head of Italian ship management company Panship Antonio Pollara. In addition, three naval officers on duty at the time at the maritime prefecture in Brest and one member of staff at the local CROSS surveillance and rescue centre have been charged with deliberately failing to take action to prevent the casualty from occurring. The trial of those accused of responsibility for the disaster had been provisionally set to open on Oct 30 and to run until December 27. At a “fixing” hearing on Tuesday, however, these dates were modified. A first proposal to open the trial on November 13 was also discarded at the request of lawyers involved in the case. The trial will now open for an initial session running from December 4-20 before resuming on January 8, 2007 and continuing until March 28. Some 60 organisations, including environmental organisations and local authorities, will be participating in the trial via civil actions.

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