Bulk carrier runs aground on remote South Atlantic Island sparking fears of environmental disaster

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March 22, 2011

Photo courtesy Tristandc.com

Transport Malta says it is investigating the grounding and subsequent complete hull failure of the Malta-registered MS Oliva, a 40,170 gross tonnage bulk carrier, which occurred last week on the uninhabited Nightingale Island, located approximately 1,500 miles off the South Aftican coast in the South Atlantic Ocean. No injuries were reported and all twenty 22 members are said to be safe having been evacuated from the ship prior to the structural failure.

The MS Oliva travelling from Brazil to Singapore is reported to have been carrying approximately 1,500 tons of fuel oil and 65,000 metric tons of soya beans.

Nightingale Island is part of the Tristan da Cunha chain of islands, home to some 200,000 endangered penguins.  Environmentalists are fearing a major environmental disaster estimating some 20,000 penguins and the local rock lobster fishery might be affected.  According to reports, oil now surrounds Nightingale Island and extends into a slick eight-miles offshore and hundreds of penguins have been observed coated in oil.

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