August 15, 2006
Single hull tanker in major Indian Ocean spill
A single hulled Japanese owned tanker has spilled an estimated 4,500 tonnes of crude into the Indian Ocean.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. reports that the MOL-owned crude oil tanker, Bright Artemis, incurred hull damage when attempting to rescue the crew of a burning vessel vessel "Amar". The incident led to crude oil spillage from Bright Artemis in between Sri Lanka and Sumatra Island on Monday, August 14.
The accident may be the largest oil spill involving a Japanese tanker, but it is unlikely to damage coastlines as the spilled crude oil is light oil and three fourths of it is likely to evaporate in several days, while the remaining oil is expected to sink into the seabed within a week, Japan's Kyoto News Agency reports Mitsui O.S. K. as saying.
Mitsui O.S.K. says that on the morning of August 14 (LT), Bright Artemis received a distress signal from the Amar 10,208 ton, Singapore flag vessel Amar which was on fire, and immediately proceeded to the position about 290 miles west of the Great Nicobar Island in the Indian Ocean.
At about 1:00 p.m., (3:00 p.m. JST), Amar was swept by a wind wave and struck Bright Artemis.
The Bright Artemis has a gash of about 1 meter in height and 5 meters in length on the starboard (approx. 1.7 meters above the water line).
The amount of oil spillage from two damaged tanks is still under investigation, but is estimated to reach to about 4,500 tons.
Bright Artemis was carrying 249,997 tons of crude oil from Mina Al-Fahl (Oman) and Ras Tanura (Saudi Arabia), and was headed to Japan.
According to the report from the Bright Artemis, the location of the accident was 5 degrees 46 minutes north (latitude) and 89 degrees 04 minutes east (longitude).
Amar crew members were rescued by other vessel and are confirmed to be safe. There is no report of any engine malfunctions or any injuries from the Bright Artemis.
The Bright Artemis transferred oil from the damaged tanks to other tanks in order to stop further oil spills. As a result, the oil surfaces have been lowered below the gashes of the damaged tanks and thus, the possibility of further spillage has been prevented.
The vessel is currently proceeding eastward, adjusting its speed to minimize any turbulence.
The Maritime Port Authority of Singapore and the Indian Coast Guard have been informed of the incident.
On August 14, MOL established an Emergency Control Headquarters, headed by company president Akimitsu Ashida, to respond to any emergency situations.
Profile of Bright Artemis
Gross Tons: 146,463 tons
Type of vessel: Crude oil tanker
Built: August 1992
Seafarers: 23 in total: 4 Croatians (including captain), 1 Canadian, 18 Filipinos
Ship Management: MOL Tankship Management (Asia) Pte. Ltd