Bunker Barge Overflow Causes Oil Spill Off Grand Bahama Island

By MarEx 2013-01-22 10:51:00

Photo: Tug Smit Humber with tankbarge Smit Inesita at Freeport, Bahamas - June 2010 [http://www.shipspotting.com]

The Hon. Kenred Dorsett, MP, Minister of the Environment & Housing announced a reported oil spill off Grand Bahama Island.

The Ministry of Environment and Housing was informed of an oil spill in Freeport Harbour due to an incident involving an overflow of light diesel from bunker barge, “Smit Inesita” to the Mt “Butterfly” just before sunrise. The Ministry is informed that once the overflow was noticed, the Mt Butterfly shut down the operation a half hour into the operation.

The government authorities in Freeport were informed and notified relevant personnel in New Providence.

It was reported that less than approximately 210 gallons of fuel was released between the “Butterfly’s” port quarter and the “Smit Inersita’s” port bow.  The immediate concern of Borco was to contain the movement of the spilled fuel, so it went into defensive mode with its emergency crew putting booms in place around the source of the spill and extending booms to potential areas where the fuel could spread.  This action was completed around 1:00 pm.  Contemporaneously, Borco employed defensive operations to clean up the spill itself. It retained the service of the company, harbour launch services, who, along with a Borco crew and crew from the MV Victoria that was in the harbour, began the cleanup that included shore line services to mop up oil on the surface of the water.   No dispersants were used at this time.

The public is advised that there is a protocol for dealing with oil spills, and preliminary findings indicated that those established procedures were followed.

Borco conducted a walk-about with the Port Department and representatives of the Department of Environmental Health Services in Freeport.

Investigations into the cause of the spill are ongoing.

The Ministry of the Environment and Housing and its agencies are working with the Ministry of Transport and Aviation and Borco to effect remediation as quickly as possible.