A Croatian flagged vessel has been detained in South Africa for an investigation after an oil-spill of about 80 liters at sea while taking bunkers offshore at Algoa Bay near the city of Gqeberha (a.k.a Port Elizabeth) on Wednesday, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) announced last night.
According to SAMSA in a statement, the detention of the vessel and its investigation followed detection of the oil spillage at about lunchtime yesterday which prompted immediate containment and clean-up measures involving a number of other organisations and institutions in terms of the National Oil Spill Contingency Measures.
“The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has initiated all relevant oil spill response teams as per the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan to assist with the containment and cleanup operation following an oil spill In Algoa Bay today.
“This spill occurred today at approximately 13h00 when a Croatian flagged vessel, MV Solin was taking bunkers offshore from the bunker tanker “Sea Express” while at the Algoa Bay anchorage number 1. It is estimated that at least 80 (eighty)liters of Heavy Fuel Oil entered the sea water after a fuel tank on board the receiving vessel overflowed. Oil Spill booms were deployed and some clean up operations have commenced.
“Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Department of Fisheries Forestry and Environment (DFFE), The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), South African National Parks (SANPARKS), Extreme Projects ECMS, SpillTech, and other stakeholders are assisting with the operation,” said SAMSA.
The agency added: “SAMSA has detained the vessel and is busy investigating the incident.”
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has given notice that it will revise regulations relating to the utilisation of small vessels such as ski-boats to facilitate implementation of more safety measures to secure the lives of users and the general environment.
The notice published as Marine Alert MA 01-21, according to SAMSA, comes in the wake of an incident in East London earlier this year during which two young people lost control of a ski-boat and one of the youths was injured after being struck by the out of control vessel, resulting in him suffering lacerations to the face and other injuries.
The incident, according to SAMSA, occurred at about 11am on 13 January 2021 on the Nahoon River near East London. An investigation established that; “Two teenagers were operating a small (regulation 37) ski-boat on the Nahoon river when they both fell overboard into the river whilst making a sharp turn. The boat then did circles on the river and witnesses called the NSRI to assist. Whilst in the water, the boat hit one of the two teenagers who sustained lacerations to the face and injuries to the body,” reads the notice.
It further states that: “The vessel was found to have had a kill-switch which had not been in operation. There had been no SVCC (small vessel certificate of competency) aboard. The operation of a kill-switch had not occurred as intended by the manufacturer, because operation of a kill-switch on Regulation 37 vessels is not mandatory, and thus perceived as not required. There had been no adult supervision or competent skipper to oversee the vessel operation.”
According to SAMSA; “The incident had a potential loss of one fatality/permanent injury, along with damage to local jetties and other small craft that were operating in the area, and minor pollution in Marine reserve.”
SAMSA says the incident reflected on a few issues of concern including that:
Certain Regulation 37 vessels (≤15HP) are powerful enough to tow a skier at speed and should thus be used with caution, especially if used by underaged/unqualified persons; and then only under supervision of a qualified skipper or an adult.
When a vessel is fitted with a kill-switch, the owner/operator should operate the vessel as intended.
Any safety device/equipment that is onboard a vessel when in operation, should be used appropriately, even if that vessel is not required by regulation to have it onboard.
In efforts to prevent potentially deadly incidents of the nature in the future, the agency states that:
“SAMSA strongly recommends that the owner/operator of any Regulation 37 vessel fitted with an operational kill-switch, should operate the kill-switch as intended. SAMSA will also revise regulations and consider the inclusion of appropriate Regulation 37 vessels in the requirements for kill-switches.”
Meanwhile, in a related Marine Alert (MA 02 21) also published this week, SAMSA reported on findings of shipping related accidents that occurred at both the port of Durban between 28 April 2020 and 26 October 2020, as well as the anchorage in Algoa Bay, and during which ropes and ladders were a common cause of slippages, resulting in injuries.
“In all four cases,” notes SAMSA; “….a fall from a height occurred. Two (2) of the four (4) incidents resulted in people being hospitalised.”
The agency restated the critical regulations governing the use of ropes and ladders on vessels at sea.
SAMSA said: “IMO Res A1045 (27) paragraph 2 lists the following requirements for ropes used in the construction of pilot ladders. Paragraph 5 lists the following requirements for hand rails at the pilot boarding area:
The side ropes of the pilot ladder should consist of two uncovered ropes not less than18 mm in diameter on each side and should be continuous, with no joints, and have a breaking strain of at least 24 Kilo Newtons per side rope.
Side ropes should be made of Manila or other material of equivalent strength, durability, elongation characteristics and grip which has been protected against actinic degradation and is to the satisfaction of the Administration.
Adequate handholds should be provided at the point of embarking or disembarking from the ship via pilot ladder. These hand holds should not be spaced less than 700mm and not more than 800mm apart.”
An investigation is underway into the loss of as many as 23 containers from a cargo vessel after the shipment apparently fell overboard during a stormy weather in Algoa Bay near the city of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, earlier this week.
According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the containers were onboard the MSC Palak, a four year old Portugal flagged container vessel with a TEU capacity of approximately 9411 containers that got caught up in heavy weather and swell seas while sailing in the Algoa Bay region of the Indian Ocean on Monday.
In a statement on Thursday, SAMSA said: “The container vessel “MSC Palak” sailed out Port of Ngqura at 12:00 on the 13th of July 2020 due to high winds and anchored in Number 2 anchorage to ride out the heavy weather. On the 13th and 14th of July 2020 a severe storm passed the South African coast, causing heavy weather in Algoa Bay. The swell height measured in Algoa Bay was approximately 3.5m.
“At 23:37 on the 14th of July 2020 of a report was received from Port Control that the MSC Palak had lost containers overboard while at anchor.
“An initial assessment was that six (6) containers had fallen over board and that they had sunk, however at first light on the 15th, the vessel confirmed that in fact 23 containers were lost overboard.
“A fishing vessel reported at 08:00 on the 15th of July 2020, that they found containers drifting approximately seven (7) nautical miles south of where the containers were lost. SAMSA was informed that no dangerous cargo was lost overboard.
“The Port of Ngqura was closed for vessel traffic due to risk that some containers may have sunk in the approach channel, becoming a danger to navigation. SAMSA is working with the vessel owner to ensure that all containers are salvaged.
“An aerial surveillance flight was arranged by the owners to locate any drifting containers that may pose a hazard to shipping. SAMSA requests the public to remain vigilant and report any containers sighted to SAMSA.”
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says an investigation is underway to establish the cause of the oil spillage incident during a bunkering service off the port of Ngqhura near Port Elizabeth on Saturday morning,
This follows confirmed reports of an oil spillage at sea while a trade vessel was being refuelled. It was reported that as much 200-400 litters of fuel spilt into the ocean. However, the bunkering services company involved, SA Marine Fuels, soon activated an oil spillage control exercise to contain its spread on water.
A Department of Environmental, Forestry and Fisheries’ statement on Saturday said the vessel involved was the Liberia flag carrying trade ship known as the MV Chrysanthi S. The department said it had been “notified of an oil spill that took place in Algoa Bay in the early hours of Saturday. The incident took place at approximately 04h40 (in the) morning during offshore bunkering operations in Anchorage 1 of the Port of Nqura.
“It was reported that approximately 200 to 400 litters of fuel from the receiving vessel MV Chrysanthi S, flag state Liberia, was spilled into the sea as a result of overflow during the fuel transfer. SA Marine Fuels proceeded to dispatch a commercial oil spill response service provider to mitigate and contain the spread of the spill.
“This incident is currently considered a Tier 1 level incident which does not require intervention from the national authorities as local resources are sufficient. The department will provide assistance if the incident escalates and requires it.”
The department further said weather conditions in the Algoa Bay area on Saturday were hindering operations, which include wildlife assessments.
“However, the situation has been reported to be managed and under control. The oil is not expected to reach the coast and currently moving in an offshore direction. Transnet National Ports Authority, South African National Parks (SANParks), the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and other environmental bodies have been notified and are monitoring the situation along with our department.
” A contingency plan is in place for the Diaz Zone (Algoa Bay) and the Department will activate it should it be determined that oil is likely to wash ashore.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, SAMSA said it had become fully aware of the incident and that an investigation was being rolled out to establish its cause.
The agency in a statement said: “SAMSA with other authorities will conduct a comprehensive investigation of the incident. An inspection will be conducted tomorrow (Monday) to check if the beach and islands are not affected.”
SAMSA noted however at the time of its statement on Sunday, that monitoring of the oil had indicated that there were no oil traces on the water in the areas yet.
In its earlier statement, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries said it was responsible for matters relating to the combating of oil pollution at sea under Section 52(1) of the South African Maritime Safety Authority Act.
The department said: “Specific arrangements and tactics for responding to incidents are contained in a suite of local oil spill contingency plans managed by the department.
The department further added than an Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg), consisting of various stakeholders including the department, had been established through Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy to address South Africa’s oil spill response capability in the marine environment.
“The IMOrg hosted an oil spill exercise in November 2018 testing the response capability in Algoa Bay and is also keeping a close watch of the incident circumstances and status,” said the department.