Rotterdam Recovers Most of Oil Spilled from Bow Jubail

Bow Jubail oil spillImage Courtesy: Kustwacht Nederland

Most of the heavy fuel oil (HFO) that had been spilled from the chemical tanker Bow Jubail at the Port of Rotterdam was cleared by June 26, the port authority informed.

Namely, some 150 tonnes of the 217 tonnes of spilled oil had been cleared by Tuesday morning and it is expected that the clean-up operations will continue for several more days. Six special oil spill response vessels are deployed at the affected area for clean-up operations.

A washing facility has been operational in Geulhaven since Sunday evening to clean the over 50 inland vessels, with some 8 vessels being cleaned so far. Additionally, a washing facility for sea-going vessels opened on Monday afternoon near buoy 66 in the Botlek area. The first sea-going vessel has been cleaned and has continued on its voyage. A further 14 contaminated sea-going vessels still need to be cleaned, the port said in a statement.

“After cleaning the port water and the vessels, a start will be made to clean up the contaminated port infrastructure, including jetties, slopes, banks and embankments. This is expected to take at least several weeks,” the Port of Rotterdam Authority added.

“Our key focus continues to be on limiting the impact on the environment … It is still too early to speculate on the root cause of the accident, but we cooperate with authorities on establishing that as well,” Kristian Mørch, Odfjell CEO, said.

The spill occurred on June 23 after the 37,499 dwt tanker, operated by Odfjell, collided with a jetty while it was on its way to the assigned berth for loading. The initial incident ruptured the ship’s hull. The tanker was not loaded with cargo at the time of the incident, and there were no reports of injuries to the personnel.

The incident disrupted Port of Rotterdam’s chemicals shipping as ships of all sizes were prevented from entering and leaving the third Petroleumhaven. The port authority now informed that the harbor has been partially released by the Harbour Master to enable a partial resumption of shipping. The west section and entrance to the third Petroleumhaven have been reopened, while the south section and the Geulhaven are still closed.

To prevent the spread of the oil, the south section of the third Petroleumhaven is still enclosed by oil booms, while all oil booms have been removed on the north side of the river. Additionally, the ports of Maassluis, Vlaardingen and Schiedam have been reopened.

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