Risks of Oil Spill in the North Sea

6 Dec 2012

The death and disappearance of 11 sailors from the Baltic Ace car-carrier after colliding with the container ship Corvus J in the North Sea will be followed by an oil spill. After the tragic human casualties will follow environmental damage. The Baltic Ace wreck contains several tons of propulsion fuel oil and diesel oil. Each of the 1417 cars transported contain around 5 liters of fuel.

A similar accident that happened 10 years ago off Dunkirk had provoked oil sheens around the wreck, 2 days after the sinking of the Tricolor car-carrier. Two months later the assessment of the oiled birds was 5,200 in the north of France, 12,000 in Belgium, and 2,000 in the Netherlands. The coasts of Belgium, Flanders, Calaisis, Boulonnais, the Somme Bay and Normandy have been polluted by hydrocarbons released by the wreck. The nuclear plants in Penly in Normandy and in Gravelines in the north of France have been placed on alert because of the risk of hydrocarbons arriving in the cooling waters.
Today, it would be prudent if the Borssele nuclear plant in the Netherlands adopted the same procedures.

The cutting of the Tricolor wreck, the evacuation to land of parts of the ship, cleaning of the ocean floor, and picking pieces of cars, like bumpers, off the coast had been finished by October 2004, some 22 months after the accident.

Like it was for the Tricolor, the removal of the Baltic Ace wreck is essential on this well-travelled waterway. The ocean floor is around 30 meters deep, and the breadth of the carrier is 25 meters, making the risk of collision high.






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