TOP Tankers Inc the owner of the double hull 154,970 dwt M/T Flawless, announced that on January 23, 2006, the vessel reported a minor fuel oil overflow on the vessel's deck to the Estonian Environmental Inspectorate. The incident occurred when the vessel was in international waters having departing Tallinn, Estonia, and after loading a cargo of fuel oil. The overflow occurred when bunker fuel was being transferred between tanks, and was estimated at between 1.5 and 2.0 cubic meters. The overflow was contained on deck and the crew immediately began clean-up procedures.
As the vessel is presently in transit, the Company's superintendents have not been able to inspect the vessel since the overflow incident. However, the Company believes that reports received from the vessel to date make it appear highly unlikely that this minor overflow could have caused any of the pollution that has been recently found on the Estonian shoreline. The Company has also received Estonian media reports to the effect that the pollution there appears to have been caused by oil sludge, which has very different characteristics from the bunker fuel of the Flawless.
The vessel's technical manager has also advised the company of a report that on January 23, an Estonian Coastguard helicopter flying over the area where the Flawless was steaming did not report any pollution in the water.
TOP Tankers takes all matters concerning pollution extremely seriously and, together with the vessel's technical manager, Hanseatic Shipping of Cyprus, has established strong and effective controls as well as procedures designed to ensure that the Company's vessels operate to the highest standards to avoid pollution. The Company stated that it will continue to work closely with the Estonian authorities in this matter and will assist in identifying the cause of this pollution incident, which the Company firmly believes was not connected with the Flawless.