December 10, 2009
Hijacked tanker may cause environmental catastrophe
IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos today said that adverse weather conditions and other contributing factors may bring about an accident to the supertanker Maran Centaurus, possibly resulting in an environmental catastrophe off the coast of Somalia.
According to EU Navfor the M/V Maran Centaurus, was hijacked by pirates in the Somali Basin, 600 nautical miles North East of the Seychelles on Nov. 29. On Dec. 2, EU Navfor reported the 300,294 tonne ship as being at anchor 30 nautical miles south of Hobyo.
The ship had been headed for LOOP, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port.
IMO says that weather conditions are said to be changing for the worse in the area which, coupled with reported unsafe anchorage conditions, has led to concerns that the vessel might be damaged by grounding, leading to its cargo being spilled and resulting in serious ecological damage.
Accordingly, in a letter to the Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, Mr. Mitropoulos has expressed concern that any accident to the ship might, because of the large quantity of oil carried in its tanks, cause serious environmental damage, with repercussions to the nearby fishing grounds and consequent negative economic impact on the livelihood of the population in the area.