Mooring Accident Leads to Spill Off Danish Petroleum Terminal

Cargo operations at the Ensted liquid bulk terminal (file image at the Inter Terminals)

Published Jan 5, 2020 9:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday morning, the product tanker Stone 1 spilled vacuum oil into the water off Aabenraa, Denmark, a small town in Jutland near the German border.

According to local media, the Stone 1 was moored at the Ensted Bulk Terminal and was unloading her cargo of vacuum oil. Due to foul weather, her mooring lines parted, and she had to leave the pier. "To avoid more accidents and to avoid crashing, the crew of the ship had to start the engine and sail from there," said Defense Operations Center officer in charge Claus Rasmussen, speaking to DR. During this evolution, about 8,000 gallons (30 cubic meters) of her cargo of vacuum oil was accidentally discharged into the water. 

The pollution is not considered dangerous to humans, but it poses a risk to birds due to the possibility of oiling. Denmark's defense ministry deployed vessels and helicopters from the Danish Navy and the Marine Home Guard to assist a cleanup effort, and the pollution control vessel Gunnar Seidenfaden is now under way to the scene. 

On Saturday, as an initial response, the pollution control team deployed floating containment booms to keep the oil contained to one area near Hostrupskov, just southeast of the terminal. On Sunday, a wind change led to the contamination spreading, and efforts to contain and control it continue. Two Danish Marine Home Guard patrol boats have used a length of containment boom to skim the surface of the bay, pair trawling for oil. 

As of early Monday morning, the Stone 1 was anchored off Aabenraa, away from the spill area. Local media reported that she will remain in port until authorities have completed an investigation.