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MSC fined $50,000 for oil spill in Ghana

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has been fined $50,000 by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authourity (GPHA) after heavy fuel oil leaked from MSC’s containership MSC Alexa (3,301 teu, built 1996) at Tema Port.

The Geneva-based shipping company will also be charged with the cost of cleaning up the spill, which occurred on May 10 at around 0300hrs (local time), according to press reports in Ghana.

However, the spill was only reported to the GPHA over 24 hours later, on May 11, which impeded response efforts.

“We have an oil spill contingency plan in place and we would have responded immediately to minimise the effect of the spill if we had prior notice,” Jacob Kobla Adorkor, director of Tema Port at the GPHA, told the Ghana’s Daily Graphic.

“The spillage only came to our attention on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, when our security men, who were on an international standardisation organisation (ISO) compliance patrol at the port, smelled the oil in the environment,” he said.

Adorkor said the vessel is believed to have been ballasting when the spillage occurred, and discharged contaminated water from its ballast tanks.

“The cleaning process would last for two weeks due to the severity of the spill, and we can only declare the port to be oil-free after the process has been certified by our safety personnel,” Adorkor added.

Waste reception facilities have reportedly been put in place for the oil that is recovered.

 

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Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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