State-owned Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA) has said it eliminated pollution of the sea next to the sunken tanker Delfi in the area of Dolphin Beach. The enterprise insists on solving the problem of raising it, stressing that the ship owner must do this, USPA’s press service said on Thursday.
“The administration of the seaports of Ukraine, taking into account the active discussion of this issue by the public, emphasizes that the only legal way to solve the problem with the emergency tanker is to carry out all the work and eliminate the consequences of the incident directly and exclusively by the owner,” the statement said.
At the same time, the state-owned enterprise notes that the USPA does not have any legal grounds for independently raising the vessel. According to Article 123 of the Merchant Shipping Code, USPA will receive such a right only if a number of conditions and circumstances independent of it arise directly:
– the owner of the vessel will not ensure its recovery within the time limits established by the captain of the port (State services of sea and river transport of Ukraine). USPA will have the right to raise the vessel no earlier than July 20, 2020;
– the State Environmental Inspectorate provides an appropriate document stating that the tanker poses an immediate threat to environmental pollution;
– the owner of the vessel documents the readiness and undertakes to compensate USPA SE the cost of the work;
– the captain of the port of Odesa grants permission to raise property that has sunk within the water area of the seaport.
“If at least one of the above conditions does not occur, the right (and in this case the obligation) to raise and remove the vessel will remain solely with the owner. As of June 23, USPA received an official, clear and unambiguous refusal for compensation of expenses, and also assured of a full understanding of the responsibility and financial, organizational and technical readiness of the ship owner to raise his own ship,” USPA said.
At the same time, as noted in the message, organizationally, USPA was ready as early as April 1, 2020 (the deadline originally set by the port captain). Tender documentation was worked out and agreed and funds are provided in the financial plan.
According to the latest data from the state-owned enterprise, the work execution plan provided by the ship owner was worked out and agreed by the captain of the Odesa Sea Port and the State Environmental Inspectorate. Based on the above, the activation of the preparatory work, at the request of the ship owner, the deadline for the completion of the work on cleaning the tanker from the Odesa beach by the port captain has been extended.
Earlier, the State Environmental Inspectorate reported that according to the results of samples taken by Ukraine’s State Ecological Inspectorate, the content of oil products in the Black Sea near the Dolphin beach (Odesa) is 16.4 times higher than the permissible concentration.
As reported, in the Gulf of Odesa, the Delfi tanker under the flag of Moldova suffered a disaster – the ship broke anchor.
USPA said initially the tanker was in neutral waters and did not apply for entry into the Odesa or “South” sea ports. But later a signal was given that the ship was in distress, it was left without fuel, with an inoperative engine. In this regard, the Odesa Rescue Coordination Center, which received the signal, began to take measures to eliminate the emergency. It was agreed to tow the tanker to Ochakiv port.
On the night of November 22, Delfi managed to gain an anchor at a distance of about 1 mile from the coast near the Dolphin Beach. However, according to USPA, at 5:00, the vessel began drifting again. On the evening of the same day, rescuers managed to evacuate three crew members from the ship. They were hospitalized, doctors reported overwork and hypothermia.
The owner of the vessel had to take measures by March 31, 2020 to raise and remove the sunken tanker from the waters of Odesa Sea Port. On April 1, the prosecutor took control of the case.