On 11 January 2007, the Cypriot bulk carrier Golden Sky was sailing in the Baltic Sea when it had to stop due to engine problems. Atrocious weather conditions caused the vessel to ground on 15 January 900 m off Ventspils (Latvia) with a cargo of 24,983 tonnes of potash.
Sixteen crew men were rescued by helicopter and 8 stayed. The priority was to prevent the serious possibility of pollution by deploying response equipment (booms, skimmers …) using tug boats. Sub-zero temperatures made operations extremely difficult. Nevertheless, salvage teams successfully removed all fuels and lubricants from the Golden Sky. 9,000 tonnes of potash were recovered, transhipped into barges which were towed to Hull (England). The ship was then refloated and towed to the port of Ventspils, as a port of refuge.
All in all, operations lasted four months. The Golden Sky was delivered to its owner but thereafter no longer operated.
Name: Golden Sky
Date: 15 January 2007
Accident area: 900 m off Ventspils
Cause of spill: grounding
Quantity transported: 24,983 tonnes
Type of pollutant: potash
Ship type: bulk carrier
Date built: 1985
Last update: September 2009