Posted on March 06, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis

The owner of the Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier, Solomon Trader has issued an apology over the oil spill that occurred on Renell Island on February 4th.

The spill, which has now been officially declared as the worst ecological disaster in the island nation’s history, is expected to accrue a clean-up cost in excess of $5m.

“The insurer and owner of the grounded MV Solomon Trader have offered a sincere apology to the people of the Solomon Islands following the bauxite carrier’s grounding on a sensitive reef near Rennell Island,” said the Korean P&I club, in a joint statement with Hong-Kong based owner, King Trader Ltd.

Over seventy-five tonnes of heavy fuel oil has leaked into the sea surrounding the UNESCO heritage site, and so far, there's little sign of the leak stopping anytime soon.

Aerial surveillance performed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has shown that the fuel continues to leak from the vessel in great amounts.

Furthermore, there is the possibility of a low-tide in the coming weeks. Should such an event come to pass, the vessel could very well capsize, further exacerbating the already significant ecological disaster.

Current expert consensus suggests that the clean-up operation could take several months in the least.

Considering that the salvage operations proceeding at a snail’s pace, partially due to the remote nature of the island, the situation doesn’t look like it close to being resolved.

The Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration has opened an investigation into the incident due to the possible breach of International Safety Management.

They ‘re claiming that the incident was a result of a “lack of a crew posted on lookout/watch during that night”.

Should the investigation bear fruit, the company could face substantial financial ramifications, not the least of which would be the insurer walking away from the claim altogether.

Read the full story here.

Posted in Pollution , Environment , Solomon Islands , Asia , Safety

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