On 3rd October 2000, the oil tanker Natuna Sea carrying 70,000 tonnes
of highly viscous crude oil (Nile Blend) left the west-east lane
of Malacca Strait heading for Changi’s moorage (Singapore)
to load bunker fuel. She hit a reef three metres below the sea surface,
next to the Indonesian island of Batu Berhanti. A tear in the hull
caused a spill estimated at no less than 7,000 tonnes. The Singapore
port authorities responded immediately. In 1997 they had experienced
a 25,000 tonne spill of heavy fuel following a collision between
two oil tankers.
Despite the use of booms and the involvement of 37 boats in the recovery operations at sea, oil slicks polluted one of Singapore’s tourist beach and coastal portions of the Indonesian island of Batam. 500 people were mobilized for the oil response operations on land, including 300 fishermen and fish-farmers hired by the vessel’s agent. The Natuna Sea was refloated on 12 October.
As Nile Blend was a particularly viscous crude oil, with poorly known behaviour, Singapore’s port authorities resorted to Cedre to assess the possibilities of treating oil with dispersants.
Name: Natuna Sea
Date: 3 October 2000
Accident area: Island of Batu Berhandi, Singapore Strait
Cause of spill: grounding
Quantity transported: 70,000 tonnes
Type of pollutant: crude oil
Quantity spilled: 7,000 tonnes
Ship type: oil tanker
Last update: June 2011