Over-Filled Bunker Tank Linked to New Orleans HFO Spill

Tuesday September 5, 2017

A Maltese-flagged bulk carrier, M/V Vitahorizon, has been linked to a HFO spill resulting from an over-filled fuel tank during a bunkering operation in New Orleans area, World Maritime News reports.

The Plaquemines Parish 911 Center received a report on Monday of a discharge of HFO into the Mississippi River IVO lower 12 Mile Point Anchorage near Braithwaite and Wilderness Park.

"The discharge was due to an overfilling of a fuel tank on the M/V Vitahorizon during fuelling operations," said the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).

"Plaquemines Parish Fire Department and Plaquemines Parish Port were notified of the incident. During the night there was a strong odor of diesel in the Belle Chasse and Braithwaite areas. This is the result of the spill."

An estimated 10-20 barrels of HFO are said to have been spilled during the incident.

"USCG conducted a preliminary investigation, ensured the source was secure, notified the waterways warning network and issued an information bulletin to warn traffic near the site for the cleanup crews safety," said USCG.

"A Pollution Response team has responded to collect statements and ensure cleanup operations were progressing."

USCG says that responsible parties have contracted companies to place booms around the vessels involved and initiate cleanup efforts.

M/V Vitahorizon, a 74,483 DWT bulk carrier, is understood to be managed by Greece-based Vita Management SA.