Mitsui OSK Says BRIGHT ARTEMIS Pollution Fears Over

Published Sep 22, 2006 12:01 AM by The Maritime Executive

The Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines has announced that there is no longer any significant risk of pollution from a spill from its VLCC BRIGHT ARTEMIS. The tanker suffered a gash to its hull during a mid-sea rescue in which it came alongside the general cargo ship AMAR.

According to Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, follow-up monitoring and surveys of oil spilled from the tanker BRIGHT ARTEMIS have revealed only thin oil sheens on the high sea, 30 miles or more from the Great Nicobar Island. The last survey was completed on September 12 and was conducted by pollution experts, who led an aerial survey from a chartered airplane. The slicks were said to be drifting further south to southeast and “will dissipate soon with no possibility of reaching any coast or shoreline.”

The collision in the Indian Ocean between the Japanese-operated tanker and the smaller cargo ship resulted in a spill of crude oil. The BRIGHT ARTEMIS tried to maneuver near the smaller vessel, AMAR, which had reported a fire on board. According to the tanker’s operators, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, the accident took place 300 miles west of India's Nicobar Islands. The tanker then tried to maneuver near the AMAR, but a wind wave swept the AMAR into the BRIGHT ARTEMIS. A large gash in the tanker’s hull resulted.

In response, the tanker transferred cargo internally to other tanks to prevent any further spillage of oil. There were no injuries reported on board the tanker. The crew of the AMAR was rescued by the BRIGHT ARTEMIS and other vessels that were in the vicinity. Mitsui O.S.K. immediately reported the spill to Singaporean and Indian Coast Guard officials.

Based on their research and that of others, the company announced that they had received approval from the Indian Coast Guard to terminate the monitoring and oil removal countermeasures on September 14. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines took the opportunity to express its appreciation to the Indian Coast Guard for its assistance and to other concerned parties for their support and cooperation on this incident. The company has also apologized for any anxiety caused by the incident.