International media reported on Tuesday that Spanish authorities detained the Maltese-flagged oil tanker Lagertha following discharge of hydrocarbons that caused a spill in the waters near the northeastern port city of Tarragona, as detected by aircraft sensors and satellite radar on Feb. 11. However, the next day, its Turkish manager denied these allegations, clarifying that the vessel did not cause any pollution.
In particular, Reuters reported that the ship manager of Lagertha, Besiktas Shipping Group, said that the oil tanker carried out a cleaning of tanks at sea in accordance with MARPOL maritime regulations. The company told Reuters in a statement that the process followed the cleaning requirements while ”any trace from this tank washing discharge operation does not mean a pollution.” Furthermore, the company explained that the cargo was not a petroleum product but a fatty acid methyl ester fuel.
Besiktas Shipping said it provided all records to the Spanish port state control officers on Feb 17, adding that the “inspection covering the investigations was completed without any finding” and the vessel was allowed to sail on Feb. 21.
Separately, Spain’s Merchant Fleet, a transport ministry department, told Reuters on Wednesday that the vessel left the port of Tarragona on Feb. 21 after the authorities’ conditions were met. The vessel was detained until the owners paid a €100,000 bail. It went on to say that authorities would initiate disciplinary proceedings based on the evidence available so far. According to the Merchant Fleet, the Lagertha was in open sea and it was impossible to determine whether there had been any environmental damage.
Furthermore, on February 14th, the Merchant Fleet detained tanker Elephant after authorities discovered “technical and documentary deficiencies” during an inspection in the northwest port of Ferrol, as well as for failing to notify Spain’s maritime administration with documents related to STS operations. However, on February 21st, it was released and set sail for Estonia.
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