LPG Carrier Leaks Butane After Collision with Tanker

The Astro Saturn in an undated file image (Jellicoe Tankers)

By The Maritime Executive 04-17-2018 02:04:00

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the LPG tanker Crystal Sunrise collided with the Aframax tanker Astro Saturn off Singapore, resulting in a release of about 1,800 tonnes of liquefied butane gas. 

At about 0230 hours Tuesday, the Crystal Sunrise was picking up her pilot at a designated pilot station about one nm south of Tuas Extension, according to Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA). In circumstances that are still under investigation, she collided with the Astro Saturn.

The Sunrise suffered damage to a ballast tank and a leak from a gas cargo tank due to the collision. The Saturn's bow and port side anchor were damaged. Both ships have since been stabilized, and the Crystal Sunrise's crew managed to contain the gas leak. 

MPA assessed that the butane dissipated quickly, and prevailing winds would have carried it away from Singapore's shores. No injuries were reported on either vessel, but eight PSA Marine staff who were present at the time of the collision received check-ups as a precautionary measure. They have since been discharged. 

Butane is a natural gas liquid with industrial uses as a petrochemical feedstock and a fuel additive. It forms a gas at room temperature, and it is explosive in a narrow range of mixtures with air.

The 2013-built Crystal Sunrise is flagged and owned in Singapore, and she has no history of inspection deficiencies. The 2003-built Astro Saturn is flagged in Greece, and her last inspection at Vostochny, Russia found deficiencies related to documentation.