Container Removal Under Way from Ship Grounded in Chinese Waters

The M/V Bareli carried 1,913 containers and 1,200 metric tons of fuel oil and marine diesel oil when it ran aground March 15 two nautical miles off the coast of Fuqing, China.

Crews may begin removing 1,110 metric tons of fuel oil from the grounded container ship M/V Bareli on March 22 as salvage operations by Chinese maritime authorities continue. The ship ran aground two nautical miles off the coast of Fuqing, a city in eastern China, around 9:15 p.m. local time March 15. All 21 members of the crew were safely evacuated, but the ship "has a severe crack in the fore body and is at risk of breaking up," its manager, Klaveness Ship Management AS, reported.

Klaveness' March 21 report said salvage operators have begun pre-heating the fuel oil on board the ship so the oil can be pumped out. "To get access to the fuel tanks, the salvage operator has prioritized removal of containers, and by Wednesday evening, local time, a total of 140 containers are reported removed," the company reported. It credited "the good work from MSA Fujian and the Provincial Ocean and Fishery Department to organize the salvage operation and to minimize the environmental impact of the grounding."

Oil reported in the sea at some distance from the ship may not be from the Bareli. "We have no reports that this is from the grounded Bareli," said Lasse Kristoffersen, CEO of Torvald Klaveness. "However, appointed surveyors are taking samples of reported oil spill in order to compare it with the fuel oil on board Bareli. We have no verified information that five tons of fuel oil has been pumped out, as Lloyds Casualty reported."

MSA interviews of the 21 crew members are under way, and Kristoffersen said he believes Klaveness can start repatriating some within a week. The crew members of the Singapore-flagged ship are from Romania, the Philippines, and South Africa. Aboard the Bareli when it grounded was a cargo of 1,913 containers, around 1,100 metric tons of heavy fuel oil, and about 120 metric tons of marine diesel oil.

Klaveness says the ship was built in 2003 and is 212.75 meters long. It is owned by Antarctica Shipping Pte. Ltd in Singapore and is insured by Gard AS, which mobilized its Casualty Group in conjunction with Klaveness to support the MSA (local maritime authorities).

More updates will be posted at www.klaveness.com. Gard has been posting updates about Chinese regulations that took effect Jan. 1, 2012, and require owners and operators of large ships to have a pollution cleanup contract in effect with a Maritime Safety Agency-approved ship pollution response organization (SPRO) before the ships enter Chinese ports. The requirements do not apply to Hong Kong or Macau, according to Gard's updates at www.gard.no.

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