Problematic toxic cargo headed for the bottom of the sea, announces SAMSA

Photo courtesy of Dr Holling

UPDATE:

Pretoria: 17 January 2022

The story below has elicited huge interest from a broad range of people across several sectors. Top most has been concern about the decision to dump the cargo of the vessel at sea, as annouced in the article. In response, SAMSA’s Deputy Chief Operations Officer, and acting Chief Operations Officer, Captain Vernon Keller has since provided more detail about the development during a radio interview with Cape Talk Radio last week.

Click on the following link for the interview (+- 6 minutes).

Pretoria: 13 January 2022

A problematic water reactive cargo approximating 1500 tonnes laden on a vessel in St Helena Bay on the west coast of South Africa will be formally, finally dumped at sea; the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) announced in Pretoria on Thursday.

According to SAMSA, this will be just over two months of the country working tirelessly around the clock to safely manage the unstable chemical cargo since the encounter with its bearer vessel, the NS Qingdao, in Durban last October.

Since then, the vessel was shepherded under a watchful eye to a safe containment terminal in St Helena Bay on the Atlantic Ocean seaboard.

In subsequent updates about the management of the vessel, SAMSA described its cargo as consisting of “a mixture of Sodium Metabisulphite, Magnesium Nitrate Hexahydrate, Caustic Calcined Magnesite, Electrode Paste, Monoammonium Phosphate, Ferrous Sulphate Monohydrate, Zinc Sulphate Monohydrate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sodium Sulphite Anhydrous and Calcium Chloride.”

On Thursday, in the statement in Pretoria announcing the latest development; SAMSA said: “SAMSA and its partners are continuing with the salvage work on the NS Qingdao. The NS Qingdao was evacuated from the port of Durban on 23 October last year after her cargo suffered a chemical reaction and released toxic fumes into the atmosphere.

“The vessel is currently anchored off St Helena Bay and an emergency dumping permit has been obtained from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to dump the reacting cargo at sea.

“Approximately 1500 tonnes of cargo will be dumped 250km from the closest point to land and in excess of 3000m of water. The dumping operation is expected to be concluded on 25 March 2022.

“To date more than 1000 tonnes of the cargo has been taken out of the vessel and it is expected that the remaining hotspots will be removed and dumped by 15 March 2022.

“The vessel has no obvious structural damage, and she will return to the closest port after the dumping operation is complete and her cargo is stabilised. An investigation will also be conducted to determine the reason for the cargo reaction .

“Structural specialists will also conduct an assessment to ensure that the integrity of the vessel is intact before allowing her to sail onward to her destination.

“The tug Umkhuseli continues to act as a safety stand by vessel. The operation is weather dependent to ensure that the highest levels of safety standards are maintained throughout the operation.

“The owners, insurance and salvors continue to work with the South African authorities on this matter,” said SAMSA

End

Detained Croatian flagged vessel in South Africa released, coastline clean up continues: SAMSA

(Photo courtesy of MarineTraffic.com)

Pretoria: 30 November 2021

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says a Croatian flagged vessel detained in South Africa two weeks ago after an oil spill during bunkering in Algoa Bay has been released.

In addition; “The clean up of Tar balls that were washed up ashore following (the) oil spill that occurred during a vessel bunkering operation on the 17th of November 2021 in Algoa Bay is continuing this week,” said SAMSA in the joint statement with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE).

At the time of the incident, SAMSA previously indicated that approximately 80 liters of fuel spilled into the ocean when the environmental pollution incident involving the MV Solin occured at about lunchtime that day, and as a result of which emergency containment and clean-up measures in terms of the National Oil Spill Contingency Measures were activated, involving a number of other organisations and institutions.

Since then, according to SAMSA, about a handful of seabirds were found oiled and had to be cleaned, along with suspected heavy fuel oil residue called ‘tar balls’ reportedly since spotted and picked up from the adjacent coastline north east of the port city of Gqeberha.

In Pretoria on Tuesday, the agency said: “So far four (4) kilometres of the approximately eight (8) kilometres stretch of coastline between Hougham Park and Sundays River has been cleaned. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and other stakeholders including the Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment (DEFF) continues (s.i.c) to monitor the remaining stretch beach for any additional oil/tar balls or oiled wildlife. 

“The vessel was released from detention and was permitted to sail after an Admission of Contravention and the detention fee was paid by the vessel owner. The owner will remain accountable for all cleanup costs relevant to the oil spill.”

The MS Solin’s registered owner was indicated to be April Marine Inc and the vessels’ route track information by MarineTraffic on Tuesday showed the bulk carrier as having left Algoa Bay, on the indian Ocean, on 24 November 2021 for Saldanha Bay on South Africa’s west coast.

End.