Japan: Ill-fated wood chip carrier had 1,700 tons oil on board

Wood chip carrier Crimson Polaris, which broke into two pieces after running aground off Japan earlier this week, had about 1,700 tons of oil on board.

“As of August 11, when the vessel ran aground, the ship had about 1,550 MT of heavy oil and about 130 MT of diesel oil for fuel,” Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), the ship’s operator, revealed.

“The amount of oil that has been spilled into the ocean has not been identified.”

The Panama-flagged cargo ship has caused a large oil slick that reached the coastline of Misawa on late Thursday, the Japan Times reported.

Local teams coordinated by the Japanese Coast Guard have launched cleanup operations. NYK said that oil recovery companies are also prepared to perform beach cleaning.

Around 1,600 tons of heavy oil is believed to have remained within the distressed ship.

The 49,500 dwt Crimson Polaris was near Hachinohe Port, Japan, arriving from Thailand with a cargo of wodden chips, when it touched the ground in shallow water.

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On August 12 at 4:15 a.m. (JST), the vessel’s hull split into two pieces and began spilling oil. 

“The bow is floating and held by an anchor chain, and the stern appears to have become stranded on the seabed,” NYK explained.

The shipowner —  MI-DAS Line S.A. (an affiliate of Doun Kisen Co. Ltd. — and ship-management company — Misuga Kaiun Co. Ltd. — are currently in discussions with relevant authorities and salvage companies concerning towing and treatment of the separated hull, with the prevention of environmental pollution being given the highest priority, the Japanese company added.