Sunday, January 14, 2007
Norway has mounted an intense effort overnight to clean up and contain a fuel spill from a Cypriot-registered cargo ship that ran aground on Friday on the west coast, north of Bergen, officials said. The entire 25-man crew was rescued by helicopter on Friday evening from the 180-metre Greek-owned MS Server after it hit rocks near the Hellesoy lighthouse on the island of Fedje in the county of Hordaland. The ship broke in two, and the stern section sank, but the bow part was towed to calmer waters and secured, officials said. "There is oil in the water and it has reached one part of the island where the ship ran aground," said spokeswoman Ane Eide Kjaeraas at the the Norwegian Coastal Administration which is leading the clean-up. "It has reached the west of side Fedje."
The ServerThe Coastal Administration estimated that 290 tonnes of heavy fuel oil spilt into the water, Eide Kjaeraas said. "It is a serious accident – absolutely," she said. The Server, which was carrying no cargo en route to Murmansk in northwestern Russia, had 585 tonnes of bunker fuel oil and 72 tonnes of marine diesel aboard when it ran aground, the Coastal Administration said in a statement. Four tug boats and four Coast Guard vessels took part in the clean-up and effort to control the spill on Saturday, it said. "We have high seas, quite intense wind in the area so it is hard to estimate visually how much oil is out there," Eide Kjaeraas said. A tank that had been situated where the ship broke in two held 290 tonnes of bunkers. Another tank with capacity of 300 tonnes is in the bow section that has been secured, she said. Environmental groups feared the fuel could drift to a nearby bird sanctuary where a large number of birds have wintered due to unseasonally mild weather this year. But Eide Kjaeraas said no oil had been observed in the area. It was unclear what caused the ship to run aground. Conditions were rough with seven-metre seas, but not unusually harsh for the time of year along Norway's coast, officials said.