Selendang Ayu, transporting a cargo of soya and with 1,600 tonnes
of heavy fuel in her bunkers, suffered from damage to her engine
in a storm and grounded on Unalaska Island, in the Aleutian Islands.
Due to extremely difficult conditions, the air-lifting of the crew proved to be a dramatic operation. A helicopter crashed and 6 sailors were killed in the incident.
Pollution response operations at sea became practically impossible, due to the difficult weather conditions and the movement of the zone. Response efforts were concentrated on the coast, involving the use of booms in the salmon river estuaries and clean-up operations similar to those carried out in France and Spain for the Erika and Prestige spills, but on a far smaller scale.
The commanding officer of the Malaysian cargo ship the Selendang Ayu was condemned to 3 years probation in March 2005 by an American court, for having lied about the time the damaged engine stopped. He had waited in a raging sea for not 11 but 13 hours before asking for assistance from a tug.
Name: Selendang Ayu
Date: 7 December 2004
Accident area: western shore of Unalaska Island, Alaska
Cause of spill: grounding
Quantity transported: 1,600 tonnes
Type of pollutant: bunker fuel oil
Quantity spilled: 1,300 tonnes
Ship type: bulk carrier
Length: 222 m
United States Coast Guard
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Points de situation sur la pollution, photos.
Last update: June 2011