13th August 2007, 08:41
Just after 08.00 hrs local time 12/08/07 the 1994-built Panamaian registered Bulk carrier, "New Flame" was leaving the Port of Gibraltar after routinely picking up bunkers. It appears that she left the Bay without informing the local Port Authority (Unconfirmed at present) and as the 26,824-ton vessel rounded Europa Point she was in collision with the Algeciras bound Chemical/Oil tanker, the 30058-ton, 2002-built, Danish registered "Torm Gertrude" (Suffered damage to the bow) which was carrying 50,000t of Gasoline Oil,. The "New Flame" partially sank in shallow waters just off the lighthouse with Emergency boats from the Port Authority, two local habour tugs and the Spanish SASEMAR Rescue Tug "Miguel de Cervantes" and Rescue launch "Salvamar Algeciras" in attendance.
13th August 2007, 11:53
Just received a photo of the M/T Torm Gertrude damage (attached) c/o Torm.
Will be interesting to hear the results of the incident investigation in due corse and how the collision occurred. Chris Allport
14th August 2007, 07:59
Date: 12th August 2007
COLLISION BETWEEN VESSELS "NEW FLAME AND "TORM GERTRUDE"
The Panamanian cargo Vessel "New Flame", carrying a cargo of scrap metal and the Danish Product Tanker "Torm Gertrude" collided in Gibraltar waters, 1 kilometre south of Europa Point, Gibraltar at 05.55 hrs on Sunday 12th August 2007.
The "New Flame" had just left Gibraltar bound for Turkey. The "Torm Gertrude" was heading inbound for the Port of Algeciras in Spain from the Eastern Mediterranean.
As a result of the collision both vessels were damaged. The "Torm Gertrude" proceeded to the Port of Algecias in Spain. The vessel is currently in a safe condition.
The damage sustained by the "New Flame" resulted in her taking in water with Nos. 1 and 2 holds being completely flooded. This caused the vessel to start sinking by the bow, at which point the crew of 23 abandoned ship safely.
The vessel then drifted to a nearby reef, where it came to rest. The current situation is that the bow of the vessel is resting on the reef and the remainder of the vessel, from amidships to the stern, is above the surface of the water.
The Gibraltar Port Authority activated its Emergency Response Plan and deployed the necessary resources to the scene of the incident.
The Gibraltar Port Authority have deployed divers to the vessel to inspect the damage and a full on-board inspection is being carried out by the Gibraltar Maritime Surveyors. Options are being considered for the removal of the vessel’s fuel to avoid any oil spill. Anti-oil spill resources are on standby alongside the vessel in case the need arises.
The Gibraltar Maritime Administration has commenced an investigation, into the collision and also into how the vessel ‘’New Flame’’ departed from the Port of Gibraltar without the necessary clearance. Such investigations are standard procedure in these incidents.
The Minister for Shipping, The Hon Joe Holliday, was immediately informed of the incident and visited Europa Point to view the vessel at first hand. He has since been in attendance at the Gibraltar Port Authority Incident Control Room. The Minister commented "This collision of two vessels is a serious incident. All the necessary resources are being deployed to address the situation and to ensure environmental safety. Once again, as in the case of the ‘’Samothraki’’ incident, I would like to express my satisfaction at the magnificent and professional way that the Gibraltar Port Authority personnel and other private sector operators are responding to this incident. The Chief Minister who is currently away from Gibraltar on vacation, is being kept fully informed.’’
Further information will be issued as it becomes available.
The following was issued later.
Date. 13 August 2007
The Government has met the salvage experts and the owners of “New Flame” this afternoon to consider an initial assessment of the proposed plan for the salvage of the cargo vessel. The plan is being submitted by the Tsalviris Salvage Group, one of the leading experts in this field internationally at meetings chaired by the Hon J J Holliday, Minister for Shipping. The plan will be formally presented in written format for approval by the Gibraltar Port Authority tomorrow. In the first instance, the plan aims to recover the cargo ship’s fuel in order to minimise any possible risk to the environment. Specialist equipment for this operation is on its way to Gibraltar.
Meanwhile, the Royal Gibraltar Police have arrested the Master of the Vessel, Captain D Konstantinos on suspicion of conduct likely to endanger shipping under the Merchant Shipping Act of Gibraltar. He has been remanded in custody to appear before the Magistrate’s Court tomorrow. This evening the Captain is being questioned by the RGP with the assistance of the Captain of the Port and the Maritime Administrator.