Oil sheen spotted at estimated site of sunken gas tanker

AN oil sheen has been spotted from aerial observations at the estimated site of a sunken gas tanker, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources said on Friday.

Tar balls have also been spotted near the site.



“On 29th December 2021 a team of officers from the Ministry of Transport and Housing, Port Department, Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (Department of Environmental Planning and Protection) conducted an aerial site visit to the site of the collision of Tropic Breeze and Utopia IV and the sinking of Tropic Breeze,” the Ministry of Environment said in a press release.

“The purpose of the aerial survey was to ascertain the condition of the environment due to the potential exposure to any oil spill from the sunken vessel and to provide technical advice on remediation of any oil spill. The location of the site is approximately 15 miles north-northwest of New Providence between Whale Cay and the Northwest Passage.

“Aerial observations indicate an oil sheen at the estimated point of the wreck, and tar balls/blobs were observed approximately three miles from the site. The appearance of a small number of tar balls were also observed in the shallow waters along the south-eastern shoreline of Whale Cay.”

The ministry said a team from the RBDF and the Ministry of the Environment and Housing (DEHS and DEPP) conducted a surface investigation on December 30 and located the oil sheen.

“It is noted that (the) wreck is located in approximately 9,400 feet of ocean and that the sheen is affected by ocean currents and heavy seas,” the ministry also said.

“A report on site visits will be produced and more information will be made available.”

The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources said it will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure the preservation and protection of the natural environment.

The tanker M/T Tropic Breeze was hit at 10.03pm on Christmas Eve by the M/Y Utopia IV, a 207-foot super yacht, approximately 15 miles NNW of New Providence.

A statement issued from Maritime Management LLC, which managed the Tropic Breeze, said the 160-foot tanker was travelling on its proper watch en route to Great Stirrup Cay when it was rear-ended by the yacht.

“The catastrophic force of the collision pierced the stern of the tanker causing the tanker to sink to the ocean floor at an estimated depth of 2,000 feet,” the company said on December 25.

The company said the tanker’s cargo included all “non-persistent materials” – LPG, marine gas and automotive gas – “all of which are lighter than water and will evaporate if exposed to surface air.”

The Tribune previously reported that the Office of the Attorney General will investigate the environmental liability attached to the incident.


B_I_D___ 1 year, 1 month ago

What would really be nice is to have some sort of comment from the owners or Captain of the motor yacht...total silence. Also no comment on whether they are cooperating, offering assistance...again, total silence.


longgone 1 year, 1 month ago

You won't be hearing anything from those dudes. They have lawyered up!!


TalRussell 1 year, 1 month ago

Already is sensing de office of UK Colony's attorney general, are fixated on building up a HumRidinger of improper navigation blame at de captain, that resulted in de sinking of his own 160-foot tanker, de M/T Tropic Breeze to some 2000+-foots to its ocean bottom graveyard and everything else like this and that ― Yes?


Baha10 1 year, 1 month ago

While AG is at it … and for that matter the Environmentalists … what about all those Cruise Ships that threw Anchor wherever in our Waters for months on end during the Pandemic and destroyed untold numbers of Reefs in the process?!?


ThisIsOurs 1 year, 1 month ago

" tar balls were also observed in the shallow waters along the south-eastern shoreline of Whale Cay.”

Are tar balls/blobs consistent with materials "evaporating once they reach the surface"? And how likely is it for this stuff to reach the shoreline?


B_I_D___ 1 year, 1 month ago

There would be some heavier oils on board, engine oil, hydraulic fluids, etc.


ThisIsOurs 1 year, 1 month ago

Ok. So were they asleep or were they partying?


Baha10 1 year ago

An inspection of M/V Utopia’s Electronics will have already revealed if the Yacht was running on Auto-Pilot … and likewise it’s GPS Tracking System will have already revealed if evasive action was taken by the Captain to disengage the Auto-Pilot to avoid the collision based on Radar or Visual Night Watch … should be a pretty simple Investigation and indeed, already concluded by now.


Sickened 1 year ago

You're assuming that our government has the urge to go aboard the vessel and that they want to investigate this.

The line that I hear all the time in movies comes to mind... "how much will it cost for all of this to go away". Especially with this party in charge.


One 1 year ago

Nothing will come of this, insurance will cover the loss of assets. But the damage to the people's environment won't matter and little will be done to avoid future incidents.

Image how much pollution is dumped in our water daily by all the cruise ships, yachts and commercial ships. The environment is our greatest asset yet we spend little towards caring and protecting it.


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