A series of human errors caused the collision between the Tunisian Ro-Ro ship Ulysse and Cyprus-flagged containership CLS Virginia that took place in October 2018, approximately 28 kilometres north-west of Cape Corsica, according to preliminary findings of a joint inquiry into the case.
The report findings of the tripartite commission, comprised of Tunisian, French and Cypriot investigators, were presented on Monday, January 7, by the Tunisian Ministry of Commerce, Agence France-Presse informed.
Namely, the watch officer of the Tunisian RoRo was speaking on the phone while his counterpart on board the CLS Virginia was not attentive to the radar alarms at the time of the incident, which sent hundreds of tons of bunker fuel into the Mediterranean Sea, some of it hitting the French coastline.
Specifically, as a result of the impact, the boxship’s fuel tanks ruptured resulting in a bunker spill.
What is more, the Cypriot containership is said to have dropped anchor in the middle of a busy sea lane. AFP cited Youssef Ben Romdhane, director general of sea transport in Tunisia’s commerce ministry, as saying that this was the first time a ship had dropped anchor in the location in question.
The estimated damage claims of the two ships total in around EUR 13.5 million (USD 15.5 million), coupled with estimated EUR 10 million (USD 11.4 million) due for coastal cleaning efforts.
Mr. Romdhane is yet to provide World Maritime News with a comment on the matter.
To remind, the two ships were locked together for five days in order to avoid further damages and pollution of the environment before being disentangled on October 11, 2018.
The Italian and French authorities coordinated a fuel spill response, however, a portion of hydrocarbons did reach the beaches of Var, on Southeast France.
The Tunisian RoRo did not sustain significant damage and was cleared to head for Tunisia a week after the collision.
Damaged Cyprus-flagged containership spent almost three weeks anchored off Cape Corsica before being allowed to set sail toward the Port of Constanta, Romania, for repairs.
World Maritime News Staff
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