Oil tanker Mercury / Cap Charles (IMO 9321706) and tankship Agnes / La Boheme (IMO 9314167) dragged anchor in the Bay of Gibraltar at around midnight on February 19th.
Strong eastern winds, threatened ships nearby. Salvage ship Maria Zambrano responded and it was later joined by port tugs.
The Mercury was taken to the outer anchorage of Gibraltar while the Agnes was stabilized at its initial anchorage. Both tankers were unable to leave under their own power.
Of more interest perhaps was the location and the fact that the two vessels had recently changed names and flags, arriving at Algeciras on February 3rd and 4th. The names of their new operators are unknown.
The area around Ceuta, Gibraltar, and the western edge of the Mediterranean has been noted by Windward and others to be a popular new rendezvous point for STS transfers of oil and refined oils.
2006-built, Liberia-flagged, 81,409 gt Cap Charles (listed as “Mercury” on AIS) is listed as owned by Euronav NV of Antwerp, Belgium and managed by Euronav Ship management of Athens, Greece. It is recorded with Equasis as entered with Britannia, but does not appear on the Britannia database. It is likely, therefore, that the Equasis information as to flag, owner, operator and insurer no longer applies. Marine Traffic informs that the current flag is St Kitts Nevis and that the home port is Piraeus, Greece. As of February 21st the vessel was stopped off the eastern side of Gibraltar in the Greater East Anchorage.
Equasis lists Agnes as 2007-built, Marshall islands-flagged, 42,684 gt La Boheme, owned by PST Energy 3 Shipping LLC care of manager Product Shipping & Trading SA of Athens, Greece, and also as entered with Britannia. Once again, Britannia does not list the vessel in its database. Marine Traffic, which names the vessel as Agnes, says it now sails under the flag of Palau. So once again it is likely that the Equasis information no longer applies. As of February 21st the Agnes was also at anchor at Greater East Anchorage off Gibraltar.