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Russian oil tanker suffers explosion, fire in Sea of Azov

Explosion Alert

A Russian oil tanker experienced an explosion in the Sea of Azov and an operation to rescue three of its crew members was underway Saturday, officials said.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry said the explosion on the General Azi Aslanov took place as the tanker was traveling from the port of Kavkaz to the city of Rostov-on-Don. Authorities said 10 members of the tanker’s 13-person crew havebeen rescued, while the remaining three were believed to be in the water.

The tanker has tilted and efforts to stabilize the ship were underway.

Maritime officials said the tanker wasn’t loaded explosion may have been triggered by flammable vapors left behind from the vessel’s previous cargo.

Courtesy of abcnews.go.com

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Indian Oil Corp’s oil tanker catches fire off Sri Lanka #Tanker #Oil #India #SriLanka

Boatfire Alert

Naval vessels and aircraft are conducting rescue efforts off Sri Lankan coast after a very large crude carrier (VLCC) chartered by the Indian Oil Corp (IOC) caught fire. The fully loaded vessel, identified as New Diamond, was on its way to Paradip from Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait when the incident took place.

According to Srilankan navy officials, the ship is ablaze about 20 nautical miles off the east coast of the country close to Colombo. “The Sri Lanka air force has scrambled an observation aircraft and the navy has sent in two ships to help with rescue efforts,” Commander Ranjith Rajapaksa of the Sri Lankan navy said.

Various reports claimed that Sri Lanka’s Marine Protection Authority assured steps will be taken to prevent any possible oil leak from the tanker which is carrying 270,000 tonnes of oil.

There is yet to be any comments from the part of IOC or Kuwait Petroleum Corp regarding the incident.

Courtesy of cnbctv18.com

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Arctic Circle oil spill prompts Putin to declare state of emergency #OilSpill #ArcticCircle #StateOfEmergency

Oil Spill Alert

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency after 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil leaked into a river within the Arctic Circle.

The spill happened when a fuel tank at a power plant near the Siberian city of Norilsk collapsed last Friday.

The power plant’s director Vyacheslav Starostin has been taken into custody until 31 July, but not yet charged.

The plant is owned by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, which is the world’s leading nickel and palladium producer.

The Russian Investigative Committee (SK) has launched a criminal case over the pollution and alleged negligence, as there was reportedly a two-day delay in informing the Moscow authorities about the spill.

Ground subsidence beneath the fuel storage tanks is believed to have caused the spill. Arctic permafrost has been melting in exceptionally warm weather for this time of year.

President Putin expressed anger after discovering officials only learnt about the incident on Sunday.

Russian Minister for Emergencies Yevgeny Zinichev told Mr Putin that the Norilsk plant had spent two days trying to contain the spill, before alerting his ministry.

The leaked oil drifted some 12km (7.5 miles) from the accident site, turning long stretches of the Ambarnaya river crimson red.

In a televised video conference on Wednesday, Mr Putin criticised the head of the company over its response.

“Why did government agencies only find out about this two days after the fact?” he asked the subsidiary’s chief, Sergei Lipin. “Are we going to learn about emergency situations from social media?”

The region’s governor, Alexander Uss, had earlier told President Putin that he became aware of the oil spill on Sunday after “alarming information appeared in social media”.

The spill has contaminated a 350 sq km (135 sq mile) area, state media report.

In a statement, Norilsk Nickel said the incident had been reported in a “timely and proper” way.

The state of emergency means extra forces are going to the area to assist with the clean-up operation.

The accident is believed to be the second largest in modern Russian history in terms of volume, an expert from the World Wildlife Fund, Alexei Knizhnikov, told the AFP news agency.

What can be done?

The incident has prompted stark warnings from environmental groups, who say the scale of the spill and geography of the river mean it will be difficult to clean up.

Greenpeace has compared it to the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.

Oleg Mitvol, former deputy head of Russia’s environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor, said there had “never been such an accident in the Arctic zone”.

He said the clean-up could cost 100bn roubles (£1.2bn; $1.5bn) and take between five and 10 years.

Courtesy of BBC News

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