Crews Continue to Clean HFO Spill at the Port of Rotterdam

bow jubail
The 37,499 dwt MT Bow Jubail is managed by Odfjell Management AS and registered in Norway. Photo courtesy Odfjell

Crews are making progress in the clean-up of more than 200 metric tons of heavy fuel oil that was spilled at the Port of Rotterdam over the weekend after a chemical tanker hit a jetty.

Officials reported Wednesday that approximately 160 tonnes of oil had been recovered as of Wednesday morning, but they warned that the remaining oil is likely to be cleared less quickly and clean-up could take weeks.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority, who is coordinating the clean-up with the agency Rijkswaterstaat, said initial priority is being given to the clean-up of the port water and contaminated vessels, which will allow vessels to enter and leave port.

An estimated 217 metric tons of heavy fuel was released from the Norway-flagged Bow Jubail after it struck a jetty in Rotterdam’s 3rd Petroleumhaven, located in the Botlek area of the port.

The Port Authority reports that more than 50 inland vessels and 15 seagoing vessels were contaminated by the spill, as well as several birds at the port. 

To facilitate the cleaning of vessels, a washing facility set up in the port had already cleaned 16 inland vessels and four contaminated sea-going vessels as of Wednesday afternoon.

Rijkswaterstaat is coordinating the collection and cleaning of the infected birds.

“After cleaning the port water and vessels, a start will be made to clean up the contaminated jetties, slopes, banks and other port infrastructure. This is expected to take several weeks,” the Port of Rotterdam Authority said in an update on Wednesday.

The Bow Jubail has been towed from its original berth to a shipyard on the opposite side in the Botlek area.

The vessel is managed by Odfjell Management AS and registered in Norway.

“Uninterrupted supply and distribution is vital for the business process continuity of companies in the port. For a number of companies in the incident area, a substantial amount of this supply and distribution usually takes place via the 3rd Petroleumhaven. This supply and distribution has been seriously disrupted since Saturday, 23 June 2018 as a consequence of the incident. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is consulting closely with the involved companies to instigate measures to ensure that supply and distribution can be resumed as quickly as possible. When taking such measures, one of the main focus areas is to limit as far as possible any nuisance for local residents and the living environment,” the Port of Rotterdam Authority said.