STATEMENT BY Hon. Glenyns Hanna-Martin
At approximately 2:30 p.m. on 26th September 2013, The Motor Tanker- Formosa Falcon, a 39,307 ton vessel ran aground off the coast of Grand Bahama.
Reports are that the vessel was altering her position at Freeport anchorage due to her proximity to another vessel. Whilst altering its position, the vessel’s captain reported that westerly winds of 15 knots forced the vessel aground. The vessel is a fuel tanker with 12,796 tons of alkalyte. There is no evidence of emission of this product into the waters and the hull is reported intact.
An Inspector from the Port Department along with personnel from the Freeport Harbour Company and the agents for the vessel were dispatched to the grounded vessel and reported that the vessel was grounded at the bow. It was reported that there was no evidence of any breach of the vessel’s hull.
International and local marine salvage experts are on location and having assessed the situation made preparation to refloat the vessel by using tugboats and the tanker’s own engines. At high tide at approximately 2 a.m. this morning repeated efforts were made to refloat the tanker but without success.
At daylight it is intended to commence new initiatives to refloat the vessel. In the interim the vessel will be secured by tugs fast to the vessel to keep her in place in the event the weather deteriorates.
The Ministry of Transport and Aviation has been in direct contact with representatives of the ship’s owners to ensure that prompt and appropriate actions are taken, that a proper assessment of the situation has been made and a determination as to the best course of action. The Port Department and the Ministry will continue to closely monitor this situation.
Throughout this process, the Port Department Inspector has been stationed on the grounded vessel and even at this hour remains on the vessel.
The National Oil Spill Advisory Committee has also been notified and placed on alert. Further, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation and the Port Department will conduct a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident.
Periodic press statements will be released as necessary to keep the public fully informed of all new developments.