…As Gard Warns of Mysterious Oil Spill off Brazil***
White smoke started coming out from the capsized car carrier Golden Ray in St. Simons Sound near Brunswick, Georgia, late last week.
According to an October 20 statement from St. Simons Sound Response, Unified Command response crews managed to stabilize the source of white smoke and “will continue to closely monitor the situation throughout the evening with a safety boat and a tugboat equipped with firefighting equipment.”
Air monitoring around the vessel and in the community has shown no signs of impact. The established 150-yard safety zone around the Golden Ray remains in effect and commercial traffic has not been affected by this incident, the authorities explained.
The cause of the smoke is unknown at this time.
Earlier in October, the Unified Command said that lightering operations of the forward fuel oil tanks onboard Golden Ray were completed, with more than 225,000 gallons of fuel having been removed. Lightering of the remaining fuel and lubricant tanks continued.
So far, more than 250,000 gallons of fuel have been removed from the overturned vessel. There are more than 400 people involved in the response with 80 vessels.
The Unified Command is currently developing plans to remove all of the Golden Ray’s hull, components, and cargo by disassembling the vessel in place as maritime experts engaged in the response determined that it is not possible to safely right and refloat the vessel in a fully intact condition.
The Hyundai Glovis-operated car carrier started listing heavily after it became disabled in early September in St. Simons Sound near Brunswick, Georgia. Of the 24 persons on board, 20 were evacuated immediately while the remaining four were extracted in a subsequent operation. The vessel was carrying about 4,000 cars bound for the Middle East at the time.
In the meantime, marine insurance company Gard has urged seafarers to exercise caution when operating in Brazil’s North-Eastern region, whose shorelines have been polluted by an oily substance in the form of lumps of tar.
The company said that over 130 tonnes of oil waste had been collected on the many affected beaches by October 10, noting that Brazil’s environmental agency IBAMA reported of at least 120 locations in 77 municipalities in the nine north-eastern states that are affected by the oil spill.
While the source of the oil spill is still unknown, Brazil’s environmental agency IBAMA stated that the substance is ‘crude oil’ of a type that is not produced in Brazil.
Hence, one hypothesis is that the oil spilled from a vessel passing near the Brazilian coast. The Brazilian Navy will reportedly approach approximately 140 tanker vessels identified to have sailed along Brazil’s coast during the past months and require them to provide evidence of no involvement.
Gard warned that, as long as the source of the oil spill has not been identified, a vessel contaminated by oil floating on the water will not be able to claim cleaning costs and delays from a “responsible party”.
World Maritime News