UAE: Pollution incidents at ports


Published: 24 April 2013

The Association has become aware of a recent series of incidents at certain ports in the U.A.E. where oil spills / pollution have taken place.

The recurring feature of these incidents has been that they have occurred while vessels were at berth and receiving bunkers from shore side road tankers.

Information available indicates that the occurrence of these spills coincided with the disconnecting of bunker hoses from manifolds. That would indicate that insufficient care and attention was paid to the concluding phase of the bunkering operation and perhaps were carried out in a hurry.

Consequent to these incidents were the levying of fines on both vessel as well as bunker supplier, irrespective of where fault may ultimately have been found for the incident. Fines of USD40,000 or more are not uncommon, but much higher fines can be imposed at the discretion of the Port Authorities.

The approach from the Authorities has been strict and they have not accepted Club LoUs, but insisted on a payment guarantee from the local Agent, absent which there would be no sailing clearance granted.

Members should proceed with caution when conducting bunkering operations and ensure that they are properly supervised, and conducted carefully, until their full conclusion. Any concerns or issues, should be promptly protested by the Master. In case of serious concern, Masters should not hesitate to either halt operations and / or seek urgent assistance from the Club's local Correspondents.

Furthermore Members may wish to incorporate suitable clauses into their charter parties and supply contracts that clearly define who bears the responsibility for ensuring safe and successful bunkering operations, and - importantly - who will be responsible for claims and costs in case an incident does occur. The Association will be able to assist Members in this regard.

In case of further query, Members are asked to contact the Association for further assistance.