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Hydraulic oil spills in Melaka Straits after bulk carrier collides with containership

The Panamax bulk carrier Galapagos has spilled hydraulic oil in the Melaka Straits after colliding with the 15,000 Teu mega container ship Zephyr Lumos over the weekend, Malaysia’s maritime authority said July 12.

“A team each is onboard the two ships and investigating the matter and, based on the information, there was a thin sheen of oil spill from the hydraulic crane on the Galapagos,” a senior executive at Malaysia’s Marine Department told S&P Global Platts.

There has been no spill of bunker fuel, and the hydraulic oil leakage that was within a 50- to 100-meter radius of the ship has mostly evaporated, the executive added.

Preliminary investigations show that the 2010-built and Malta-flagged Galapagos experienced a steering gear failure and suddenly turned swiftly after losing control, the senior executive said.

The marine gasoil or MGO in the Galapagos has been transferred to another tank space, the marine department said in a statement. The part of the ship that is open as a result of the breach does not store MGO and the oil spilled into the sea is hydraulic oil, the department added.

The collision resulted in both ships being dragged together for a short distance before coming to a halt, it said.

The Malaysian executive said that the 2021-built, Zodiac Maritime’s UK-flagged Zephyr Lumos was overtaking the Galapagos and, after the Panamax bulk carrier lost control, the container ship hit it on the starboard side from behind.

The Zephyr Lumos was asked to anchor outside the traffic separation scheme or TSS in the straits; its destination is Suez from Singapore. The Galapagos is anchored near the collision site; it had been en route to India’s Vizag port.

The Straits of Melaka is one of the world’s busiest waterways, with a ship moving through every few minutes and daily cargo movement worth billions of dollars.
Source: Platts

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