Rotterdam: Storm Brewing Over Bow Jubail Bunker Spill Cleanup Costs

Friday August 10, 2018

There is growing concern that the cost of cleaning up the Bow Jubail bunker spill will not be fully met by Odfjell.

As previously reported, the June 23 incident happened after the company's tanker made contact with the Botlek terminal jetty and ruptured its hull, resulting in a spill of 217 metric tonnes (mt) of HFO bunkers in Rotterdam waters.

For the record, Odfjell immediately took responsibility for the spill, saying it "regrets the unfortunate incident and takes this matter very seriously" as well as making a pledge to "cooperate closely with Dutch Authorities to ensure that necessary resources are available in taking the required actions and mitigate consequences of the oil spill."

Odfjell subsequently told World Maritime News it "will compensate for documented losses up to the maximum legal liability."

In July, Port of Rotterdam launched legal proceedings in the US to recover €28.75 million ($33.7 million) in cleanup costs and potential claims from companies within its port area.

It now puts the clean-up figure at €80 million, and local media sources have indicated to Ship & Bunker there are fears not only that this number could grow, it could extend beyond legal liability limits.

While the Port Authority has not directly expressed this concern, COO Ronald Paul said in a statement Thursday: "We will do everything in our power to recover these damages. Society here cannot be left to pay for this."

The Port says the current understanding is that the entire clean-up operation will last until the middle of next year.