OIL SPILL IN
The recent oil spill from Indian oil tanker MT Ratna Shalini
(5,5178 GT) spread to shoreline causing environmental and property
MT Ratna Shalini laden with 80,000 tonnes of crude oil was damaged
as she berthed at the Mombasa Port oil terminal on April 7th
One of her tanks loaded with 3,000 tonnes of crude oil was
punctured on the starboard side of the vessel and about 200 tonnes
of oil spilled into the sea.
Pollution control experts from the Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya
Ports Authority, the oil spill Mutual Aid Group and Kenya Navy
managed to contain the spill, but due to un-preparedness and
ill-equipment the oil spill spread to the coastline about 5 km
away from the port and some of the spill spread for about 150
cubic meters inside the port area.
Since 7th April 2005 when the oil spill occurred no
assessment has been carried out on the property damage,
environmental damage and loss of income to fishing community
caused by the oil spill.
Kenya is amongst the 86 member states of the International Oil
Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF) but owing to the outdated
maritime laws of Kenya the owners of the ill-fated vessel will pay
only USD $ 1 Million. It beats reason at what criteria the Kenya
government used to arrive at the USD $ 1 Million penalty.
For, it is too early to quantify the damage caused by the
oil spill. Scientifically, the damage can only be quantified after
an assessment that can only be done after two (2) weeks when the
effects of ecological manifestation will start showing. The
ill-fated vessel is a single hull-tanker built in 1987 and she is
due to be faced out in August this year as per the new IMO
The spillage comes after a new IMO regulation that bans carrying
heavy grade oil in single-hull tankers came into force on April 5th
The new IMO requirement is designed to reduce the risk of spills
from oil tankers involved in low-energy collisions or groundings.
MT Ratna Shalini is owned by India steamship, of Kolkata, India.
The coastal waters of many African countries contain some of the
world’s richest ecosystems, characterized by coral reefs, sea
grass meadows, mangrove forests, estuaries and floodplain swamps.
Coastal ecosystems are not only an important source for essential
products for mankind, including foods, medicine, raw materials and
recreational facilities, but also provide ecological services that
directly benefit the coastal zone.
Approximately 39 km of shoreline along which 27 fish landing sites
located were polluted by oil of which 22 kilometers were heavily
impacted. Shorelines consisted of a mixture of sand, pebbles and
mangroves as well as seawalls.
Fishing and Mari culture activities taken along the affected area
included intertidal harvesting of marine products, inshore fishing
with dugout canoes and set nets, crab culture farms and on shore
hatcheries producing a range of marine products.
Many of these activities also suffered the direct effects of the
Apart from the environmental damage to marine organisms and
mangroves, the fishing communities also suffered heavily loss of
income due to property damage caused by the oil spill.
Seafarers Assistance Program