An oil spill from a wood chip carrier, Crimson Polaris, that split in two after it ran aground at the Hachinohe Port on Wednesday, has reached Japanese shores.
According to the Japanese Coast Guard, heavy oil that spilled from the Panama-flagged vessel reached the coast of Misawa City on Friday morning local time. The stranded oil has spread around 24 km north of the coastline, but the extent of any environmental impact remains unclear as the authorities continue to tackle the oil spill.
The 49,500 dwt ship operated by Japan’s NYK Line had about 1,550 metric tonnes of heavy oil and about 130 metric tonnes of diesel oil on board, but the amount of oil that spilled into the ocean has not been identified. “The Maritime Disaster Prevention Center is trying to control it using oil-treatment agents and adsorption mats,” NYK Line said.
The Crimson Polaris, owned by MI-DAS Line, an affiliate of Doun Kisen, broke apart at 4,15 hrs local time on Thursday. The vessel’s split hull is about 4 km offshore Japan. A crack that initially occurred between the No. 5 cargo hold and the No. 6 cargo hold at the rear of the vessel worsened, and the hull eventually split into two, NYK Line explained.
The bow is floating and held by an anchor chain, and the stern appears to have become stranded on the seabed. MI-DAS Line is said to be in discussions with relevant authorities and salvage companies concerning towing and treatment of the separated hull.
The 2008-built vessel, with 21 crewmembers on board, grounded and sustained structural damage on Wednesday morning as it was unable to navigate due to bad weather. The cause of the accident is currently being confirmed, and investigative authorities are interviewing the captain.