Next steps planned in oil spill clean-up off Qingdao

Chinese officials have said that they were considering siphoning the remaining cargo at sea from Suezmax oil tanker A Symphony (IMO 9249324), which spilled about 400 tonnes of oil into the Yellow Sea after colliding with cargo ship Sea Justice (IMO 9309514) during the morning local time on April 27th in the Yellow Sea south of Qingdao.

Yesterday April 29th Chinese officials reduced the estimated size of the spill from the A Symphony to about 400 tonnes (2,920 barrels), from an original estimate of 500 tonnes. The local Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) has also revised the location of the accident to 40nm from Qingdao Port, compared with an original estimated 11nm southeast of the port.

An official at the Shandong MSA told Reuters that the level of oil still on the tanker, which had been carrying a 150,000-tonne cargo of bitumen blend, remained “unchanged”. That indicated that spill had been contained. However, the official warned that the information was not definitive.

“The detailed situation is still under assessment and experts are holding a meeting,” an official from the Shandong Maritime Safety Administration said, adding that a lightering operation could be carried out on the A Symphony before the end of the week. Transferring a cargo load of the size reported to be aboard the A Symphony would probably take up to a couple of days.

Ships have been instructed to stay at least 10nm away from the A Symphony, but the MSA said on April 29th that the accident had not affected traffic to and from the port.

The A Symphony had arrived at Rizhao – Qingdao anchorage on April 15th, having travelled from Western Africa via Malaysia. The Sea Justice moved to Qingdao anchorage after the collision and was anchored.

As of April 29th the A Symphony remained at anchorage, as did the Sea Justice.

Hong Kong-based fuel trading company Run Cheng International Resource (HK) Co is the owner of the 150,000-tonne cargo of bitumen blend on board the A Symphony.

2001-built, Liberia-flagged, 79,525 gt A Symphony is owned by Symphony Shipholding SA care of manager NGM Energy SA of Piraeus, Greece. ISM manager is Goodwood Ship Management of Singapore. It is entered with North of England on behalf of Symphony Shipholding SA.

2005-built, Panama-flagged, 24,960 gt Sea Justice is owned by Sea Justice Ltd care of manager Glory Ships Co Ltd of Qingdao, Shandong, China. It is entered with Swedish Club.