Tanker Spills Oil After Collision Off Qingdao
Chinese authorities are reporting a significant oil spill outside the port of Qingdao from an accident involving an inbound cargo ship and a Suezmax tanker at anchor outside the port. Details of the accident remain sketchy, but the Chinese authorities are reporting no injuries among the crew and said a recovery operation is underway to contain the spill. In the meantime, vessels are being advised to remain at least 10 nautical miles away from the accident which took place outside one of China’s busiest seaports.
Reports confirmed by the tanker’s operator say that the Suezmax tanker, the 150,000 dwt A Symphony was at anchor this morning outside the Chinese port. Just before 9:00 a.m., she was struck by a cargo ship, the 35,000 dwt Sea Justice, which was inbound to the port.
Port officials reported heavy fog conditions that have been impacting navigation off the coast since Monday. The tanker’s operator told Reuters that there was poor visibility at the time of the accident.
AIS data from @MarineTraffic confirms that a cargo vessel called SEA JUSTICE (9309514) rammed right into a fully laden (1 million barrels) Suezmax tanker called A SYMPHONY (9249324) off the coast of Qingdao, China this morning. More to follow. Thx @tanker_cj for heads up. #OOTT pic.twitter.com/Xj2vT01xIK— TankerTrackers.com, Inc.?????? (@TankerTrackers) April 27, 2021
"The force of the impact on the forward port side caused a breach in cargo tanks and ballast tanks, with a quantity of oil lost into the ocean," Goodwood Ship Management of Singapore wrote to Reuters in an email confirming the accident. The tanker, which is owned by a Greek company NGM Energy, reportedly undertook emergency measures transferring oil from some of the damaged tanks and activating its oil spill response.
Chinese officials said it was difficult to determine how much oil had been lost in the accident.
There were conflicting reports as to the nature of the cargo aboard the tanker. It has believed to have been fully loaded in Malaysia with a cargo of up to one million barrels. Some reports suggested it was carrying a mixed product known as bitumen that is used on roads and roofs, while others reported it was not normal for a Suezmax tanker to be carrying this product.
The Sea Justice, registered in Panama, is believed to be owned by Chinese interest. The 620-foot vessel was reportedly arriving in China on a voyage from Sudan.
The port of Qingdao remains open, but vessels were being cautioned to avoid the area and the oil spill.