Emergency crews in Sweden are now dealing with what seems to be a major oil spill after the vehicle carrier Makassar Highway floated free from the reef on which it ran aground last week.
The Swedish Coast Guard says the amount of oil released from the vessel has not yet been determined. However, as of Sunday night, approximately 7000 liters of oil had been recovered from the water by Coast Guard and other emergency response vessels.
The Coast Guard reported that oil has reached the coast at Flatvarp and it is warning the public to avoid contact with it.
The Panama-flagged Makassar Highway ran hard aground off Loftahammar, Sweden last Monday morning, July 23, while underway from Cuxhaven, Germany from Sodertalije, Sweden.
An underwater inspection of vessel carried the following day revealed extensive damage to the hull, including several breaches and water ingress in at least two tanks.
A salvage plan submitted to authorities last week involved the removal of all oil from the impacted tanks prior to any attempt to refloat the vessel.
However, due to some heavy weather over the weekend, the vessel floated free on its own.
The Coast Guard reported Sunday night that the vessel remains floating and is anchored. It was reported to hold 333,000 liters of fuel oil, 38,000 liters of lube oil and 34,000 liters of diesel at the time of the grounding.
The Coast Guard said based on forecasts, the oil is expected to impact the coast mainly between Loftahammar and Valdemarsvik.
The Swedish Coast Guard is working with the Swedish Transport Agency, the shipping company’s insurance companies and an appointed salvage company on the response.
The vessel is operated by the European subsidiary of K-Line, named K-Line European Sea Highway Services.