Tanker sinks off Bahamas after collision with super yacht

Oil products tanker Tropic Breeze (IMO 8906315) sank on December 24th, reportedly after being struck from behind by a super yacht, reportedly the Utopia IV (IMO 9851050). The latter was en route to Norwegian Cruise Line Holding’s private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay. Miami-based based Maritime Management LLC, the manager of the Tropic Breeze, said that the vessel was struck by the super yacht late on December 24th about 15 miles NNW of New Providence Island in the Bahamas.

Maritime Management said that “the 160ft tanker was traveling on its proper watch en route to Great Stirrup Cay when it was rear-ended by the 207ft super yacht. The catastrophic force of the collision pierced the stern of the tanker, causing the tanker to sink to the ocean floor at an estimated depth of 2,000ft.”

The manager said that the crew of the Tropic Breeze were uninjured, having been rescued and returned to a company-owned facility on shore.

“The tanker’s cargo included all non-persistent materials – LPG, Marine Gas and automotive gas – all of which are lighter than water and will evaporate if exposed to surface air”, said Maritime Management. The company noted that Tropic Breeze, was inspected only recently and that it had been found to be fully compliant with all national and international safety and vessel integrity standards.

The company said that “due to the depth of the ocean at the location of the sinking, it has been determined that the tanker cannot be safely salvaged. Relevant Bahamian authorities have been notified and Maritime Management continues to work with local and international maritime authorities and marine experts to ensure best outcomes with minimal environmental impact.”

Maritime Management expressed its sincere gratitude to Bahamian authorities “for their support and assistance throughout this incident and are particularly grateful to the crew of the M/Y Mara who responded to the Tropic Breeze’s distress call and rescued all seven crew members on board the sinking tanker.”

The Bahamian Office of the Attorney General has been consulted for legal guidance after the sinking. The Port Department has begun a formal investigation into the incident, and the Department of Environmental Health was also conducting a review of the environmental impact.

1989-built, Belize-flagged, 348 gt Tropic Breeze is owned by BTCI Tankers Ltd care of manager Maritime Management LLC of North Miami Beach, Florida, USA. It is entered with Skuld (Business unit Skuld Oslo 1) on behalf of Maritime Management LLC.

2018-built, USA flagged, 986 gt Utopia IV is owned and managed by Utopia Yachting LLC of Dover, Delaware, USA. It is entered with Steamship Mutual (European syndicate) on behalf of Utopia Yachting LLC.