Tuesday, 6 October 2015 - 18:34
Oil could wash up on Dutch coast after ship collision
A crash between two ships in the early morning hours of Tuesday may lead to the contamination of the Dutch coast as oil slicks from one of the ships head towards the Zeeland shore. Dutch ship Flinterstar took on water and partially sunk onto a sandbar after the accident, sending 11 people overboard, all of whom were safely rescued.Belgian and Dutch emergency crews are working hard to clean the fuel leaking from the Flinterstar, broadcaster NOS reported. Three-kilometer long oil slicks could reach Zeeland as early as 8 p.m. on Tuesday. The ship was carrying 400 tons of oil and 135 tons of light diesel at the time of the accident, NOS stated. No hazardous material leaked out of the other ship, a liquified natural gas tanker called Al Oraiq. The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker collided with the Flinterstar at about 4 a.m. eight kilometers away from the Zeebrugge port. Workers were reportedly waiting for low tide to better approach the Dutch ship. They are concerned that dragging it along the sandbank will cause a further breach, and thus potentially leak more oil into the sea. Belgian authorities are working to determine a cause of the accident. The Flinterstar's black box was recovered by officials, and should include trip data and recorded bridge transmissions, the company operating the Flinter announced on Tuesday afternoon. Bart Otto, director of Flinter, said "Every ton in the water is too much," adding that the amount of fuel onboard is equal to ten times the size of the largest automotive tanks. The ship's oil and fuel is split into multiple tanks, and it is not yet known how many of those are leaking, BNR reported.