Oil Spill as Ships Collide

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
A Japanese tanker spilled about 4,365 tons of crude oil in the eastern Indian Ocean near the Nicobar islands following a collision with a cargo ship, the tanker's operator announced Tuesday. The spill is believed to be the largest involving Japanese-operated tankers, according a ship owner Mitsui O.S.K. Lines.

The Bright Artemis tanker spilled the oil following a collision with the Amar, a smaller cargo ship, Mitsui O.S.K. said in a statement. It said the tanker had maneuvered near the Amar, which was in distress about 500 kilometres west of the Nicobars. Both ships are registered in Singapore. The exact amount of the spill was not clear, the announcement said. The tanker was carrying about 227,000 tons of crude. It had left port in Oman, bound for the Japanese port of Chiba, near Tokyo, Mitsui O.S.K. spokesman Hidenori Onuki said.

There was no risk of further leaks and the tanker left the accident scene. It is seeking a port for repairs before continuing on to Japan, Onuki said. There were no reports of injuries aboard the tanker, which had a Croatian captain and a crew of 23. A fire had broken out aboard the Amar and its crew was rescued by the Bright Artemis and other ships nearby, the announcement said. The accident occurred early Monday, local time, on the open sea. The environmental impact from the spill, which occurred hundreds of kilometres from the nearest land, is believed to be limited. The remote Nicobar islands are located off the east coast of India. Mitsui said the spill had been reported to Singaporean and Indian Coast Guard officials. No further details were immediately available. Source: AP

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