Oil spill Source: Google Images

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) says that after concluding an investigation into the causes of the oil spill that occurred while the bulk carrier Chrysanthi S was being refuelled offshore in Algoa Bay, it has been determined that the fault lay with the bulker and not the bunker operator.

Samsa ruled that the vessel’s owner be held liable for the spill.

An estimated 400 litres of fuel escaped into the sea during the refuelling. Of this, about 360 litres has since been recovered in a clean-up operation.

“It appears that the oil spill occurred after a fuel tank valve was not properly closed, leading to a vast amount of fuel accidentally spilling out on to the vessel and into the sea.

“At the time, the vessel had been supplied with as much as 1300 metric tons of fuel,” said Bongi Stofile, Samsa’s regional manager.

Stofile said the owners of the vessel, Golden Flower Navigation Incorporated, had “accepted liability for the spillage and made the necessary undertakings in compliance with relevant South African laws and regulations as well as international conventions related to incidents of this nature.”

The detention of the ship has now been lifted and she has resumed her voyage.

Meanwhile, despite the spill being largely contained, it has impacted marine wildlife, in particular sea birds and penguins.