Chemicals aboard the NS Qingdao bulk carrier will be dumped in the sea off the West Coast (around 250km off St Helena Bay in water more than 3km deep), the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said on Thursday.
The chemicals, which amounts to about 1,500 tonnes, could not be named however, SAMSA said that the NS Qingdao’s cargo “posed no immediate threat to neither the marine environment nor to humans.”
In a statement in November, it was said that some of the NS Qingdao’s chemical cargo had apparently become unstable due to contact with rain water while it was discharging cargo in the port of Durban.
Once the incident had been identified, the vessel was evacuated from the port and towed out to sea in order to ventilate its hatches offshore.
“The South African Maritime Authority are (s.i.c) aware of a vessel releasing toxic fumes in St. Helena Bay. The geared bulk carrier NS Qingdao suffered a chemical reaction after its cargo came into contact with rain water while discharging the cargo in the port of Durban. Concentrated toxic fumes were released into the atmosphere and as a result, the Transnet National Port Authority in consultation with SAMSA, DFFE and other stakeholders decided to evacuate the vessel from the port so that the hatches can be ventilated offshore,” SAMSA said.
“The cargo will be discharged into skips, chemically neutralised and landed ashore at an approved dumping site in a safe and controlled manner. The vessel poses no immediate threat to the marine environment and humans,” SAMSA adds.
Picture: Twitter / @Merentia