The bulk carrier Kiani Satu, carrying 330 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and 15 000 tonnes of rice, ran aground in heavy seas west of the Goukamma River estuary, off Buffels Bay, Knysna on Thursday due to mechanical problems. The grounding damaged the vessel’s tanks causing oil leak.
All 19 crew members were evacuated off the vessel by NSRI Knysna and NSRI Wilderness sea rescue boats.
The Department of Environmental Affairs’ Oil Spill Response team, in collaboration with the local municipality, SANParks and CapeNature, reported yesterday that they were working around the clock in putting up protection measures and cleaning up the oil spill in the two estuaries on either side of the bulk carrier.
The team has boomed off the Goukamma estuary, which is on the eastside of the grounded bulk carrier. The Swartvlei estuary, on the westside of the Kiani Satu, has also been partially closed and is being closely monitored for any oil pollution.
Reports from the Department’s oil spill aerial surveillance aircraft, Kuswag 9 (K9), indicate that while light oil is visible on the beaches, most of the oil leaking from the bulk carrier is moving offshore away from the coast. The K9 is currently stationed in George and is providing aerial monitoring twice a day.
World Maritime News Staff, August 12, 2013; Image: NSRI