By Vel Moonien in Mauritius –
The French authorities in Reunion Island have decided to take over the clean-up of the grounded Tresta Star last week. The oily sludge in its hold has also been pumped out after traces of oil were found dispersed off the coast of the West Indian Ocean’s island. The Préfet ordered the operation, which should probably end this week-end, and called in a French Navy vessel after what was thought to be an abandonment of the bunker barge by its Mauritian owner.
The bill, estimated at around several million of Euros, will be sent to the owner, Tresta Trading, a subsidiary of the Indian company Shiny Shipping and Logistics. The company has indicated that it was in permanent contact with its insurance company to ensure that the operations were running smoothly, but that same were delayed due to bad weather conditions prevailing during this summer season in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Tresta Star grounded on the volcanic rocks at Tremblet Point, off Saint-Philippe, on the night of February 3, 2022, after a series of mechanical breakdowns while trying to flee the intense tropical cyclone Batsirai which was surging past the Mascarene Archipelago (Mauritius Island, Reunion Island, Rodrigues Island). Greek company Polygreen, which finished working on dismantling of the stern of MV Wakashio, was then been recruited for a clean-up and salvage operation.
With arrival of cyclone Emnati two weeks later, the Tresta Star started to break up. The salvage mission was no more and Polygreen opted to fly out due to what is said to be default of payment. But the owner tells a No Cure-No Pay contract had been signed with the latter. With more damage to the hull, a wreck removal contract was more appropriate. There are indications that the Greek company Five Oceans Salvage (FOS) will take over after the clean-up exercise next week.
The Champlain, an overseas support and assistance vessel (OSAV) of the French Navy, ended its mission in the north of Madagascar to be on site at the beginning of last week to deliver anti-pollution equipment in Tremblet Point. Its main duty was to prevent any fuel spill after the discovery of an oil slick at sea and the fact that several breaches were noted on the hull of the Tresta Star.
Experts on board the Champlain conducted an assessment of the situation, as the Tresta Star’s owner has not responded to three formal notices from the Préfet. Shiny Shipping and Logistics should be approached by the latter via the Indian authorities. A report was also awaited regarding compatibility between the fuel in the holds of the bunker barge and that found off the coast of Anse-des-Cascades, at Sainte-Rose.
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