Kenya averts sea disaster

December 3, 2009 12:00 am


MOMBASA, Kenya, Dec 3 – Rapid response by the Kenya Navy and Kenya Ports Authority on Thursday averted an ecological disaster after stabilising an oil tanker that was listing at the Mombasa port.

The 6.30am sent the Port of Mombasa into a state of panic after the Monrovian flagged vessel started listing at the Mbaraki wharf.

Port Police boss Ayubu Gitonga told Capital News that the ship has been secured and had began depositing its cargo at the port.

“There is no cause for alarm. The ship has already been secured and has already gone to the berth to discharge the fuel it was carrying,” Mr Gitonga said. 

“Right now it is out of danger, there is no cause for alarm there has been no spillage and no injuries,” he added

He said the police were looking into what might have caused the incident.

Mr Gitonga said the ship which was heading for the Kipevu Oil Terminal (KOT) began drifting at sea after it experienced technical difficulties.

“What happened is that it had a problem which is technical in nature, but we can’t tell what happened but I saw it drifting,” he said. 

He assured Kenyans that the matter had been contained after the port emergency team that comprises the Kenya Navy, Port Police and KPA swung into action to tug the vessel to avoid it from sinking.

“The ship was headed for the KOT to deposit oil when it developed technical challenges in the middle of the channel way, but we have managed to contain the situation,” he said.

Eye witnesses say the vessel tilted heavily to one side as it approached the port.  They saw smoke coming from the rear of the ship.

Crews on the ship immediately dropped anchor to avert further listing.

It’s understood that the vessel is carrying 35,000 metric tonnes of diesel.


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