- Title: PAKISTAN: GROUNDED OIL TANKER THREATENS KARACHI PORT WITH OIL SPILL
- Date: 14th August 2003
- Summary: (W6) KARACHI, PAKISTAN (AUGUST 13, 2003) (REUTERS) 1. LV STRICKEN TANKER; DECK OF SHIP; OIL FILM ON WATER; SHIP; OIL BEING FORCED OUT OF TANKER BY SEA (5 SHOTS) 0.29 2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VICE ADMIRAL AHMED HAYAT, CHAIRMAN KARACHI PORT TRUST SAYING "What has happened is on the portside of the ship cracks have appeared and these have appeared at the waterline, and these cracks are now travelling upwards. So, ship at present has only got cracks but if these cracks keep travelling which apparently they are travelling, there is a very strong possibility that in next fifteen or twelve hours the ship may totally crack and the ship may come apart. So, you may have in next twelve hours two portions of ship sitting where one is sitting." 1.07 3. SLV SHIP; SIDE OF SHIP SHOWING OIL ESCAPING FROM CRACK (2 SHOTS) 1.36 4. (SOUNDBITE)(English) VICE ADMIRAL AHMED HAYAT, CHAIRMAN KARACHI PORT TRUST SAYING "We are expecting in the worst case scenario and this is only an estimate, don't hold me to this because the things are very fluid, between one thousand to five thousand tons of leakage of oil. After the situation is stable we will be able to take out the oil from the other tanks but if the ship comes totally apart then we see these three tanks will totally be defused and they will spill all their cargo into the sea." 2.08 5. WIDE OF SHIP 2.13 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 29th August 2003 13:00
- Location: KARACHI, PAKISTAN
- Country: Pakistan
- Reuters ID: LVA5HITDW5H80UBO9NSJU6VSH40D
- Story Text: Grounded tanker threatens Karachi port with oil Spill
An oil tanker grounded off Pakistan's Karachi port
has started breaking up and officials said on Wednesday
they feared a major oil spill in the next 12 hours.
A thick layer of oil already covers the sea near the
ship, Tasman Spirit, and witnesses said they saw crude
gushing out of a crack which has appeared in the middle of
the Greek tanker.
"The ship has seriously been damaged," San Van Der
Laan, a salvage expert from Holland, told Reuters. "It is a
matter of hours before the ship will break."
Tasman Spirit, carrying 67,500 tonnes of crude, was
grounded just outside the channel leading to the Karachi
Port on July 27 and three attempts to tow it away have
"Every high and low tide increases the stress and
widens the crack," Laan said.
Port authorities say they have transferred an estimated
19,000 tonnes of crude since Friday, but an estimated
44,000 tonnes is still on the tanker.
Karachi Port Trust (KPT) officials said the ship
started cracking after low tides caused buckling on
"There has been a crack in the grounded ship at the
lower end and there are fears that within the next 12 hours
the ship can break into two," Ahmad Hayat, chairman of the
Karachi Port Trust, told a news conference.
"If the ship breaks there are fears that three of its
tanks will break," he said, adding that one tank was full
of water while the other two contained between 1,000 to
5,000 tonnes of crude oil in total.
"We will again launch salvage and draining operations
once the ship breaks," said Hayat.
"We anticipate a massive oil spill, polluting the
coastlines of Karachi and hitting the marine life," said
another KPT official, who asked not to be named.
Greenpeace International campaigner Paul Horsman told
Reuters by telephone from London that Pakistan would have
to act quickly to prevent an environmental disaster.
"The extent of environmental damage will depend on how
quickly the port authorities respond to the spill," he
said. "The first few hours and days are the most crucial,
the response has to be rapid," he added.
However, the KPT official said international assistance
would be required to deal with the spill because the
country did not have sufficient expertise and equipment.
"We are hardly prepared to deal with such a situation,"
the KPT official said.
Horsman said the ship had Iranian crude, which was
lighter and evaporates more quickly than some heavier
"But, unfortunately, it is more toxic," he added.
The spill has already started affecting people living
near the beaches.
"We can hardly open the window of our apartment because
of the smell," said Munawaar Ahsan, a resident of the
up-market Clifton neighbourhood, while a fishermen, Tara
Baloch, said he found dead fish near the Defence beach.
Hayat said that in case of massive spillage, oil would
quickly travel to the Clifton and Defence beaches of
Karachi and booms had been put in place to protect the
"The spill will not affect the port operation," he
said, adding that the ship had grounded away from the main
channel leading to the port.
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