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Baltimore bridge crash: Safety investigation to include contaminated bunker fuel as possible cause

Probe will look into whether the contaminated fuel played a role in the Singapore-registered container vessel Dali losing power and crashing into the bridge, reports Wall Street Journal.

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Baltimore bridge crash: Safety investigation to include contaminated bunker fuel as possible cause

A safety investigation into a bridge collision in Baltimore will reportedly include whether contaminated bunker fuel may have caused the incident, according to the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday (26 March).

The probe will look into whether the contaminated fuel played a role in the Singapore-registered container vessel Dali losing power and crashing into the bridge, Wall Street Journal reported, quoting sources familiar with the investigation. 

Manifold Times reported Singapore-registered container vessel Dali crashing into the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, struck the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, on 26 March at about 1.30pm (Singapore Time), causing the bridge to collapse.

The ship management company, Synergy Marine Pte Ltd, reported to Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) that just prior to the incident, the vessel had experienced momentary loss of propulsion. 

As a result, the 95,000 GT ship was unable to maintain the desired heading and collided with the Francis Scott Key bridge. 

In its latest statement on 27 March, MPA said it is working with the ship management company, Synergy Marine Pte Ltd, to facilitate information exchange to support US Coast Guard in its investigation. 

“MPA has also requested the vessel’s classification society, ClassNK, to prepare the technical assessment and stability calculations, which are important parameters to support the US Coast Guard in the planning and subsequent safe execution of the vessel salvage operations,” it said.

“MPA, as the Singapore flag administration, takes its responsibilities for the safety of vessels registered under its flag very seriously.”

“It works with eight international classification societies, appointed as MPA’s Recognised Organisations, to survey, inspect and ensure Singapore-flag vessels comply with all applicable statutory requirements.”

As part of its flag state obligations, MPA will be conducting an investigation to determine whether there have been any infringements of relevant statutory requirements under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.

“The Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB), under Singapore’s Ministry of Transport, will be conducting an independent marine safety investigation under the International Maritime Organization's Casualty Investigation Code with the objective of identifying lessons to prevent future marine casualties and incidents,” it added.

“TSIB’s marine safety investigation do not seek to apportion responsibility or determine the liability for the incident.”

Yesterday, MPA also confirmed the vessel underwent and passed previous foreign port state inspection.

MPA said Dali was flagged with Singapore from October 2016 and is classed by classification society ClassNK. 

Based on records, MPA confirmed that the vessel’s required classification society and statutory certificates covering the structural integrity of the vessel and functionality of the vessel’s equipment, were valid at the time of the incident.

According to AP News, at least eight people went into the water in the incident. Two bodies were reportedly recovered from the site of the collapsed bridge. 

Related: MPA: Singapore-registered ship in Baltimore bridge crash passed previous foreign port state inspections

 

Photo credit: FBI Baltimore
Published: 28 March 2024

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Environment

Malaysia to look into demands of Johor fisherman affected by oil spill from Singapore

Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the government will study their demand based on legal provisions available and look into solutions.

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Malaysia: Government to look into demands of Johor fisherman affected by oil spill from Singapore

A Malaysian minister said the government will look into the demands of fishermen in Johor affected by the recent oil spill that spread from Singapore waters, according to several media reports. 

Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the government will study their demand based on legal provisions available and look into solutions. 

His comments came following the recent oil spill after an allision between a dredger and a stationary bunker tanker in Singapore, which affected several beaches in the southern part of Johor. 

On 21 June, it was reported that the Johor Department of Environment stated it expected minimal pollution impact to the Johor’s coast and waters from the oil spill and that it was not as serious as initially predicted.

In a Facebook post, state health and environment committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said clean-ups began on 21 June at Sungai Rengit and Teluk Rumunia. 

Netherlands-registered dredger Vox Maxima crashed into the bunker vessel causing fuel from the bunker vessel’s cargo tank to spill into Singapore waters. 

Last week, MPA said the shipowner of Marine Honour, the stationary Singapore-flagged bunker tanker that was hit by a dredger recently, is liable for costs incurred from the 14 June oil spill.

MPA said tanker Marine Honour has “strict liability”, which means it is liable even in the absence of fault, for pollution damage caused by oil spill from its tanker in Singapore waters.

Related: MPA: Owner of bunker tanker involved in Singapore oil spill is liable for pollution damage
Related: Singapore: Allision between dredger and bunker tanker was not caused by port congestion, says Transport Minister
Related: Singapore: Oil spill cleanup after allision between dredger “Vox Maxima” and bunker tanker “Marine Honour”
Related: Singapore sees large increases in container volumes, bunkering activities remain unaffected
Related: MPA reports ‘significant increase’ in vessel arrivals in Singapore

 

Photo credit: Ling Tian Soon 
Published: 24 June, 202

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Environment

MPA: Owner of bunker tanker involved in Singapore oil spill is liable for pollution damage

MPA said stationary tanker “Marine Honour” has ‘strict liability’ which means it is liable even in the absence of fault, for pollution damage caused by fuel spilling from its cargo tank into Singapore waters.

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MPA: Clean-up ops continue following oil spill in Singapore, affected beaches closed

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore on Thursday (20 June) said the shipowner of Marine Honour, the stationary Singapore-flagged bunker tanker that was hit by a dredger recently, is liable for costs incurred from the 14 June oil spill. 

Netherlands-registered dredger Vox Maxima crashed into the bunker vessel causing fuel from the bunker vessel’s cargo tank to spill into Singapore waters. 

In response to media queries, MPA said tanker Marine Honour has “strict liability”, which means it is liable even in the absence of fault, for pollution damage caused by oil spill from its tanker in Singapore waters.

MPA added this falls under the Merchant Shipping (Civil Liability and Compensation for Oil Pollution) Act 1998, which is Singapore’s enactment of the 1992 International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (1992 CLC).

“The spirit of the ‘polluter pays’ principle simplifies the claims process by having a clear party against which to pursue claims without potential complications of proving fault,” it said in a statement. 

“This includes expenses that Singapore Government agencies are incurring such as clean-up costs at sea and on shore.”

“The owner of the Marine Honour retains the right to take recourse action against third parties for its pollution liability.”

Related: Singapore: Allision between dredger and bunker tanker was not caused by port congestion, says Transport Minister
Related: Singapore: Oil spill cleanup after allision between dredger “Vox Maxima” and bunker tanker “Marine Honour”
Related: Singapore sees large increases in container volumes, bunkering activities remain unaffected
Related: MPA reports ‘significant increase’ in vessel arrivals in Singapore


Published: 21 June, 2024

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Environment

Singapore: Allision between dredger and bunker tanker was not caused by port congestion, says Transport Minister

‘Investigations are still on-going, but preliminary findings show that the allision on 14 June was caused by the dredger experiencing sudden loss of engine and steering controls,’ says Chee Hong Tat.

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Singapore: Allision between dredger and bunker tanker was not caused by port congestion, says Transport Minister

The allision between Netherlands-registered dredger Vox Maxima and stationary bunker tanker Marine Honour on 14 June was not caused by port congestion, Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said on Tuesday (18 June). 

Vox Maxima crashed into a stationary Singapore-flagged bunker vessel Marine Honour on 14 June, causing oil from the bunker vessel’s cargo tank to spill into Singapore waters. 

Chee said some members of the public have asked if this incident was due to congestion in our port waters.

“Investigations are still on-going, but preliminary findings show that the allision on 14 June was caused by the dredger experiencing sudden loss of engine and steering controls,” he said a social media post.

“It is not due to port congestion as our port waters and anchorages are not congested. The earlier reports on delays experienced by container vessels are a separate matter that is due to the bunching of container vessels arriving at PSA.”

Chee added it will take time for Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to complete the full investigations and progressively clean up the oil spill. 

“We seek the understanding of members of the public and businesses who are affected by this incident. We will do our best to complete the clean up as soon as possible.”

Manifold Times previously reported MPA stating that it saw large increases in container volumes and the “bunching” of container vessel arrivals over the previous months due to supply chain disruptions in upstream locations.

Later, MPA confirmed that since the beginning of 2024, Singapore saw a significant increase in vessel arrivals.

In the first four months of 2024, MPA said the monthly average tonnage of container vessel arrivals reached 72.4 million gross tonnage (GT). This is an increase of more than one million GT per month, compared to the same period last year. 

On 20 June, in a joint statement, authorities said the northern part of the Pasir Panjang Container Terminal (PPT) is cleared of oil slicks following the deployment of the Current Buster, an oil recovery and containment system, since 18 June. 

Thorough cleaning of the oil-stained Berth 36 near the allision area using high-pressure jets is on-going.

PPT was the location of the oil spillage following the 14 June allision between Netherlands-registered dredger VOX MAXIMA and stationary bunker tanker MARINE HONOUR. 

“The deployment of the Current Buster at this upstream location is important to prevent surface oil from flowing westwards towards West Coast Park which is unaffected till date, and also eastward towards downstream locations, including Sentosa beaches, Sentosa Cove, Southern Islands, and Keppel Marina,” authorities, including MPA, said.  

Three Current Buster systems have been deployed. Two systems capable of five tonnes of recovered oil per load are deployed off western affected areas at PPT and Sentosa. The other system capable of 35 tonnes load is deployed off eastern affected areas off East Coast and Changi East as a precaution to recover any oil and prevent further spread. Another 35 tonnes-load Current Buster system will be deployed shortly.

Total length of booms deployed since 14 June is 3400 meters. This is more than the approximate 3100 meters originally planned.

Note: The full statement by Singapore authorities including progress of the shore clean-up effort can be found here

Related: Singapore: Oil spill cleanup after allision between dredger “Vox Maxima” and bunker tanker “Marine Honour”
Related: Singapore sees large increases in container volumes, bunkering activities remain unaffected
Related: MPA reports ‘significant increase’ in vessel arrivals in Singapore

 

Photo credit: Singapore Transport Ministry / Chee Hong Tat
Published: 20 June, 2024

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