The Panamanian flagged bulk carrier New Flame collided bow to bow with the double hulled Danish oil products tanker Torm Gertrud 1.5 km off Europa Point, Gibraltar, on the morning of 12th August. As a result, the bulker, which was carrying scrap metal and around 700 tonnes of bunkers on board, began to sink by the bow. As the accident happened in relatively shallow water, the vessel subsequently settled on the bottom with bow submerged at a depth of 30 m and part of its decks above water.
On Friday 31st August EMSA received a request for assistance from Spanish Authorities (SASEMAR). The Spanish Authorities requested one of the EMSA contracted oil recovery vessels to assist in securing pollution response capacity for response action. The nearest vessel available at the time was the EMSA contracted tanker Mistra Bay, which was tasked, equipped and sent to Algeciras Bay. The Mistra Bay has a recovered oil storage capacity of 1805 tonnes and the necessary cargo heating capability needed to discharge recovered oil.
SASEMAR also requested EMSA to acquire any available satellite imagery via the CleanSeaNet service to monitor possible oil leakage from the damaged vessel.
In the weeks following the collision, 780 m3 of fuel were successfully removed from the vessel. During the operation, safety measures to protect the environment were taken, including a 210 metre boom and oil-skimming equipment placed around the stern of the vessel and the bunker barge. In addition, oil spill response equipment was on standby. No oil slick was detected on the sea surface during the operation.
On 22 December 2007, as the vessel continued to await removal, it broke in two. The Government of Gibraltar contacted a second salvage company whose teams arrived on site in late December 2007.
On 10 February 2008, the stern of the New Flame sank, causing Titan Salvage’s plan to be revised.
On 23 March 2008, the barge Big Foot 1, which had been involved in unloading the containers from the MSC Napoli in 2007, arrived on site from Rotterdam.
Early August, the ship’s after section was removed and placed on the dock. The bow was then removed on 3 October.
The 3 December 2009 marked the end of wreck removal operations. 94% of the cargo and 68% of the fragments of wreck had been removed. It was decided that the fragments remaining on the seafloor would be left to prevent causing more damage than good to the environment.
Name: New Flame
Accident area: off Europa Point
Cause of spill: collision
Type of pollutant: bunker fuel oil
Ship type: bulk carrier
European Parliament resolution
European Parliament resolution of 24 April 2008 on the New Flame shipwreck and its consequences in Algeciras Bay
Last update: 21/04/10