Lastest Spill News and Opinions
MV Wakashio and Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil
The grounding and subsequent loss of the MV Wakashio last July, involved a fuel spill of approximately 800-1000 tons of bunker fuel that contaminated up to 30km of the south-east coast of Mauritius. This threatened many pristine marine habitats and five months later is still being cleaned up.
What has complicated the incident is that, in compliance with IMO regulations, the Wahashio was using very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). Introduced to reduce air pollution there is no doubt that its interaction with water is making its recovery in a maritime pollution incident difficult and we are aware that research is being done to understand the best methods to use to recover lost VLSFO from the water column as it behaves differently to traditional bunker fuel.
This rather wildly speculative piece in Forbes makes somewhat wild allegations but the reason for linking to it is to highlight that VLFSO does reduce harmful pollution BUT at a potential cost to the marine environment when lost into the sea.
To ensure it is safely used, research needs to be undertaken in the best techniques to be used to recover the lost product. Fortunately, this is understood and is being conducted. We welcome this and will promote these solutions and welcome the part that CEFAS is playing in this.
The rather startling claims in the article below are not supported by UK and Ireland Spill Association but do show that perhaps the law of unintended consequences is at work!