CSL Virginia and Ulysse are separated

Container ship CSL Virginia (IMO 9289568) was separated from cross-Med ferry Ulysse (IMO 9142459) at 21:30 local time on October 11th under the combined effect of wave movements and previous extrication attempts.

Tugs Abeille Flanders and Jason  were assisted by the French Navy’s Pluto in ensuring a safe parting. An anti-pollution dam was deployed alongside CSL Virginia.

The collision occurred on Sunday morning October 7th about 28 km north of Cape Corsica. CSL Virginia was at anchor about 29km north of the island of Corsica when it was struck broadside.

The bow of the Ulysse became solidly lodged in the hull of the containership. The collision caused the container ship to leak bunker fuel. A major anti-pollution response is underway. No injuries were reported.

Ulysse set sail for Tunisia after the vessel was cleared Friday morning to leave the scene of the accident.

CSL Virginia remains in place, at anchor surrounded by anti-pollution boom as the owner made preparations for her transit to a shipyard.

The oil recovery operations continue. A Falcon 50 surveillance aircraft of the French Navy and a F406 Customs aircraft kept monitoring various hydrocarbon segments and redirected the work at sea carried out by the French and Italian collection facilities. The “Achéron” which served as a base for divers sailed from Toulon late on Oct 11 with replacement equipment for the involved antipollution teams.

Measures to clean up the spill are being undertaken by France, Monaco and Italy. French authorities said there are pockets of thick fuel surrounded by areas of iridescence in the area.

In the area of the Cetacean Sanctuary (the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals the borders of which run north-west and north-east from the northern coast of Sardinia as far as the Italian and French coasts), showed that contamination by hydrocarbons now affects more than 100 km/sq, said Greenpeace, adding that “the area affected by the contamination has gone from about 88 km/sq on October 8th to 104  km/sq on October 9th”.

Meanwhile, earlier reports that 600 tons of fuel had been spilt were being discounted, with the latest reports indicating that the total spill was less than a quarter of this amount.

2005-built, Cyprus-flagged, 54,592 gt CSL Virginia is owned by Duraven Shipping Co Ltd care of manager Cyprus Sea Lines Co of Athens, Greece. It is entered with Britannia P&I Club on behalf of Duraven Shipping Co Ltd.

1997-built, Tunisia-flagged, 17,907 gt Ulysse is owned and managed by Contunav of Tunis, Tunisia. It is entered with UK P&I Club (Group London L3) on behalf of Cie Tunisienne de Navigation SA (COTUNAV).