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Grounded tanker refloated

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 09, 2013

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A fuel tanker that recently ran aground off the coast of Grand Bahama was successfully refloated over the weekend without incident, Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin said yesterday.

The MT Formosa Falcon ran aground around 2:30 p.m. on September 26, according to officials.

The tanker was carrying 54,584 metric tons of alkylate, an additive in fuel, though Hanna-Martin said there was no emission of the chemical into the surrounding environment.

Hanna-Martin said the owners of the vessel will reimburse the government for expenses associated with the exercise.

“There were three attempts to move that vessel from the grounded position, and each attempt failed,” she said at a press conference at the Ministry of Transport and Aviation.

“Finally it was determined that the vessel had to be lightered — lessened of its fuel which would allow it to be refloated.”

She said the owners found an appropriate vessel in New York to lighter the Formosa.

“Eight thousand tons plus were lightered from the vessel, which was refloated and moved to deeper water,” she said.

“There was a survey of the vessel’s hull and undersurface. Some defects were discovered but there were no ruptures.”

A survey of the seabed was undertaken to ascertain the extent, if any, of damage to the seabed in the area, she said.

Hanna-Martin said the success of the refloating was made possible in part by the work of her ministry, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Department of Meteorology, the Department of Environmental Services and the Port Department.

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