Two Merchant Ships Collide In The Mediterranean Causing A 4Km Oil Slick

A four-kilometer fuel spill has been reported in the Mediterranean Sea after two merchant ships crashed into each other. French and Italian authorities are said to be working to contain the damage from the spill.

Tunisian Ro-Ro ship Ulysses collided with Cyprus-flagged container ship CLS Virginia on Sunday morning, October 7, when the boxship was at anchored near Cape Corsica.

No injuries to the crew members of either ship have been reported.

Two merchant ships collide in the Mediterranean Sea
Image Credits: Associated Press

However, CLS Virginia is said to have sustained substantial damage to its starboard side due to the impact.

The hull of the ship has been ruptured causing a hole of several meters to develop, as per a statement released by the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the Mediterranean. The fuel spill was triggered as a result of the ship’s fuel tanks being breached.

According to French maritime authorities, the 4-km long oil strip is floating towards the French and Italian mainland, away from Corsica.

ships collision_oil spill
Image Credits: Stanislas Gentien/Gendarmerie Nationale/AFP

The other ship Ulysses has been reported as being in good condition by the operator of the ferry, Tunisian CTN. The company said that it was closely monitoring the situation and would take up legal action in order to secure the ship and its cargo.

The French authorities’ statement noted that experts would decide on the safe separation of the two ships on Monday.

Several ships are onsite to participate in the clean-up activity. Despite the collision occurring in French waters, Italy has extended its assistance under the RamogePol accord which comes into play in cases of maritime pollution in the Mediterranean. France, Italy and Monaco are signatories of this accord.

The Corsican regional police administration has said that an investigation has been launched to identify the cause of the accident.

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