Monday, March 10, 2008
A merchant ship with 54 tons of fuel on board has been lying aground off the coast of Guipúzcoa, just a short distance from port in Pasajes, since last Thursday night. The ‘Maro’ flies under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda and was sailing empty from Bayonne to pick up a cargo in Pasajes, when a fault in the engines caused the 96-metre vessel to run aground two miles off Cabo Híguer, between Pasajes and Hondarribia. The ship’s stern is now resting on rocks, and EFE said it has taken on water and has lost a small amount of diesel through a crack in its fuel tank.The Captain was the last of the seven crew to abandon ship.The Coastguard originally planned to start the operation to transfer the fuel on Sunday, but were forced to postpone the attempt due to the bad weather which has been affecting the area this weekend. That will now take place on Monday if the weather abates. It is being described as a difficult operation involving setting up a pipeline from the ship to the nearest point of the shore line which is accessible to the tankers which will remove the fuel.