Thursday 1 August 2013

Stricken tanker spills fuel oil in Ternate port, North Maluku Islands.

An oil tanker has sunk in the Port of Ternate, on Ternate Island in the North Malaku Group in Indonesia, after being struck be a freak wave. The Patriot Andalan, operated by state-owned oil company Pertamina was unloading its cargo of petrol and diesel, when the wave lifted the vessel onto a jetty, causing severe damage that resulted in the vessel capsizing and sinking. The tanker was carrying 5000 tonnes of diesel fuel and 2000 tonnes of petrol from a refinery in West Papua, of which 1000 tonnes of diesel and 600 tonnes of petrol had been unloaded when the vessel sank. It is unclear how much of the remaining oil has leaked into the sea.

The stricken Patriot Andalan on Wednesday 31 July 2013. Liputan6.

There are no reports of any casualties due to the incident, and Pertamina have assured residents of the island that there is no danger of fuel shortages occurring, but it is unclear what impact the spill will have on the local environment, potentially up to 6400 tonnes of oil could leak from the vessel (though it is likely that some of this will remain on the vessel, which was split into a number of compartments, not all of which are likely to have been breached) and Pertamina are reportedly tackling the spill largely through the use of chemical dispersants, which are themselves thought to be lethal to many forms of marine life.

The Malaku Islands form part of the Coral Triangle, a biodiversity hotspot known as the 'Amazon of the Seas', which is home to around 30% of the world's coral reefs, as well as six of the world's seven marine turtle species and over 2000 species of fish, many of them highly endemic.

The location of the Port of Ternate. Google Maps.

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