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Pasir Panjang oil spill: Singapore to seek compensation from owner of Singapore-flagged ship

Singapore’s government agencies will pursue compensation from the owner of the Singapore-flagged ship, which was hit by Netherlands-flagged dredger Vox Maxima and leaked 400 tonnes of fuel during the 14 June incident. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore announced that the owner of the Marine Honour is liable for the incurred costs.



SINGAPORE: Singapore’s government agencies will pursue compensation from the owner of the Singapore-flagged ship involved in the 14 June oil spill.

This incident occurred when the Marine Honour, a bunker vessel, leaked fuel after being struck by another vessel.

In response to media query, On Thursday (20 June), the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) announced that the owner of the Marine Honour is liable for the incurred costs, as reported by CNA.

The ship has insurance coverage to address this liability, as stipulated under the Merchant Shipping (Civil Liability and Compensation for Oil Pollution) Act 1998.

This Act implements the 1992 International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage in Singapore.

According to the MPA, the owner of the Marine Honour has strict liability under the Act, meaning they are responsible for the pollution damage caused by the oil spill, regardless of fault.

“Costs for measures reasonably taken after the spill, resulting economic losses and environmental damage arising from the contamination can be assessed for claims.”

The MPA emphasized the “polluter pays” principle, simplifying the claims process by providing a clear party against whom to pursue claims without needing to prove fault.

The MPA stated, “The owner of Marine Honour can seek recourse against third parties for its pollution liability.”

Singapore’s government agencies will seek compensation for the costs of all measures taken to contain and clean up the spill, including damages to infrastructure.

Claims can also be made for economic losses and environmental damage from contamination.

Affected parties are advised to contact British Marine, the insurer of Marine Honour, for third-party claims at [email protected].

Van Oord reaffirms commitment to cooperation with MPA

Van Oord, owner of the Netherlands-flagged dredger Vox Maxima, stated on Thursday that investigations into the incident’s cause are ongoing.

The captain and crew of the Vox Maxima remain actively engaged in assisting MPA and other relevant investigations.

The company reiterated its commitment to ongoing cooperation with the MPA, pledging full support throughout the process.

Source: Marine Stewards

Concerns arise over the timeliness of oil boom deployment

The incident occurred on 14 June when oil washed up on several Singaporean beaches following a collision between Vox Maxima and the Singapore-flagged bunker Marine Honour at Pasir Panjang Container Terminal (PPT).

Approximately 400 tonnes of low-sulphur fuel from Marine Honour’s ruptured oil cargo tank spilt into the sea.

Earlier, Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat defended Singapore’s port authorities’ swift response to mitigate the environmental impact.

He noted that MPA was alerted to the incident at 2:22 pm. By 2:33 pm, MPA had responded to ensure no further leaks from the bunker vessel, which still had 400 tonnes of oil remaining in its tank.

In a joint statement on 20 June, Singapore authorities reported that as of 5 pm on 19 June, the beaches on St John’s, Lazarus, and Kusu islands had been cleared of oily sand. The northern part of Pasir Panjang Terminal was also cleared of oil slicks.

While clean-up operations have been actively carried out by authorities and supported by the public, questions have arisen regarding whether there was a delay in deploying oil booms around Singapore shores to contain the spill.

Significantly, the response effort has been ramped up progressively over the past few days: from 1 response craft initially, to 16, then 18, and now including two skimmer systems deployed since 18 June and three Current Buster systems.

In an Instagram reel on Wednesday, Minister Chee outlined the authorities’ response timeline, mentioning the deployment of a patrol craft to spray oil dispersants at the spill site.

Contrast that with MPA’s statement on 15 June, which stated, “16 oil spill response craft have been deployed to continue spraying oil dispersants and to collect the oil slicks on the water surface,” and then the joint statement from MPA and other agencies, which said 18.

Mr Chee’s statement also does not shed light on what happened between the point of MPA’s claim of having the spill contained and when the authorities actually put up the booms to prevent further contamination of the beaches and waterways.

The last significant oil spill in Singapore’s waters occurred in 2014 when three ship collisions in January and February resulted in 760 tonnes of fuel contaminating the waters.

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Somehow the claim against Marine Honour doesn’t seem right. No penalties against the Dutch ship,why? Is it because they are European and it is easier to deal with our Singapore registered shipping?