Ship broke in two and oil spill occurred

The Panamanian-flagged woodchip (a variety of bulk carrier) Crimson Polaris broke in two off the coast of Japan’s Aomori prefecture, causing an oil spill into the sea; the crew was rescued, Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday, citing the coast guard.

A bulk carrier carrying wood chips from Thailand ran aground near the port of Hachinohe in Aomori on Wednesday morning. The crew initially managed to get the ship moving, but soon steering became impossible and it became necessary to drop anchor, Kyodo writes.

On Thursday morning, the Crimson Polaris broke into two parts – the stern section (with engine compartment and superstructure) and the cargo compartment, leading to a fuel leak into the sea. All 21 crew members were rescued.

Media reports state that the vessel was carrying 44,000 tonnes of wood chips at the time of the accident.

The Panama-flagged Crimson Polaris (IMO No 9370783) has a gross tonnage of 39,910 tonnes, a deadweight of 49,549 tonnes and a displacement of 61,649 tonnes with an empty weight of 12,100 tonnes.
The vessel is characterised by an overall length of 199.90m, a design breadth of 32.20m, a draught of 11.547m and a side height of 18.50m. The cargo capacity of the chip carrier is 102,130 m³.

The ship was built in 2008 at the Japanese shipyard Tsuneishi Holdings of Fukuyama. It comes from a series of 29 twin ships.

The chipmaker is owned by Doun Kisen Co Ltd of Japan, and the ship’s operator is the large Japanese shipowner NYK Line. The technical and operational management of the ship is the responsibility of Misuga Kaiun Co Ltd, also from Japan.

The vessels are distinguished from bulk carriers by their adaptation to carry lighter cargoes (so-called “volumetric”) – they have a significantly larger cargo volume in comparison with ordinary bulk carriers of the same carrying capacity (which is externally visible in the larger freeboard), as well as being equipped with specific trans-shipment devices.

rel. PBS/
Photo: Japan Coast Guard (2nd Regional Coast Guard Headquarters)

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