Near disaster as oil ship stalls in Mombasa
A listing mv Voge Trust after it stalled at the Likoni channel at dawn on Thursday. Emergency services were mobilised to save it from sinking
By JOE MBUTHIA
Posted Thursday, December 3 2009 at 09:17
A near ecological disaster was averted Thursday after a ship loaded with oil stalled at the Likoni Channel, in the Indian Ocean.
Earlier reports that the ship had sunk have proved untrue after Kenya Ports Authority personnel emergency action saved the ship from sinking.
The KPA downplayed the danger adding that no marine life was at risk.
KPA chief pilot Captain William Ruto said it was "just a normal shipping problem."
He dismissed initial "sinking" reports, and informed the Nation that the problem the ship developed is termed "listing" in marine terminology.
He added that what happened was that one of the ballast tanks (where the ship puts water when its empty) was not loaded, and since the ship had a full oil load, it leant on one side, ‘’resulting to an imbalance.’’
He said the ship captain addressed this issue by letting in sea water so that the ship could balance out.
"As we talk right now, the ship is berthed at the Kipevu oil terminal,’’ he said in a telephone interview.
Initial reports had suggested that there were fears of an oil spill, which could have caused an ecological disaster.
But the pilot dismissed the theory, saying that there was no danger at all, and a local captain was on board all the time.
He, however, could not explain why a pall of black smoke billowed out of the ship as it was listing along the Likoni channel.