Brand-new 81,000 DWT cargo ship named Marathassa has been confirmed as the source of the toxic bunker oil spill in English Bay that took place on April 8th, the Canadian Coast Guard informed.
The ship was just recently delivered to its owner and was anchored in the bay within its maiden voyage.
According to the Coast Guard Captain Roger Girouard, around 3,000 litres had spilled into the water out of which 1,400 litres of the substance had already been skimmed from the water by crews that worked Thursday night. The spill was contained as of Thursday afternoon.
The ship remains at anchor wrapped in boom, the Coast Guard said, adding that crews are preparing to clean the strip of oil around the MV Marathassa waterline.
According to the most recent updates, over-flight assessments revealed that less than ½ a litre of oil remains on the water.
“Now that the Marathassa is confirmed as the source of the pollution, Canadians should be assured that the owner of the vessel is responsible for covering the costs of the operation. The Government of Canada put a number of measures in place to prevent and respond to oil spills; one of those is polluter-pays legislation,“Jody Thomas, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard said in a statement.
The Marathassa’s owner, Greece-based Alassia NewShips Management Inc., said that an investigation into the cause of the spill is underway stressing its commitment to a full and professional clean-up.
The company added that it would meet all its legal obligations arising from the spill.
The Coast Guard’s response to the spill has been vehemently criticized by the British Columbia officials saying that the reaction was too slow allowing for the oil slick to reach the beaches.
“It took them six hours to get booms in place … in the busiest port in Canada where they have all the resources,” British Columbia’s Premier Christy Clark is cited by Reuters as saying.
“There will not be any expansion of heavy oil movement out of this port or any other port in British Columbia until we get world-class spill response, period.”
However, the claims were refuted by Girouard stressing that containing 80 percent of a spill inside 36 hours cannot be called inadequate.
According to Thomas, the next phase of dealing with this incident will be the shore-based clean-up efforts.
“As we would for every significant incident, and as previously committed, the Canadian Coast Guard and its partners will perform a complete analysis of the entire response to this incident, from the initial call, to the official end of the operation,” he added.
World Maritime News Staff; Image: Canadian Coast Guard