Russian Rescue Crew Pump Fuel From Oil Tanker Grounded off Sakhalin Island

The Russian Marine Rescue Service has started transferring fuel out of the oil tanker Victoria, which is grounded off Sakhalin Island.

Last Friday, the 760-ton fuel-carrying vessel ran aground due to an engine failure that prompted the captain to send a distress signal.

Video Credit: Posted on Facebook by Dmitry Lisitsyn

Strong winds, waves, and worries about possible oil leaks have made it difficult for emergency personnel to tow the tanker ashore.

A video shows the tanker being thrown around by the waves 400 meters off the coast of the Nevelsky district in the Sakhalin region.

Experts began moving fuel from the damaged ship onto onshore tanks on Tuesday, the 14th of November, with plans to finish the procedure by Thursday, the 16th of November, an unidentified emergency services official from Russia stated.

Plans are in place to remove the ship from its current shallow position after the fuel extraction is finished. Independent verification is still awaited, but witnesses have noticed a thin layer of oil in the nearby waters and a strong diesel fuel odour.

After leaving Vladivostok, the grounded tanker, Victoria, ran into engine trouble in the Tatar Strait, which separates Sakhalin Island from the Russian mainland.

The main engine was not working properly, and the steering control was damaged, according to the distress call on the 10th of November.

The 2,800 dwt tanker, which was 276 feet long, became stranded 1,300 feet offshore near Cape Lopatino. Ten individuals on board were reportedly not in any danger.

The Otto Schmidt rescue vessel arrived at the scene, but the large waves made it difficult to attach a towline. While waiting for calmer waves, the rescue ship is keeping a safe distance away. It came to pass that helicopter intervention was not feasible because of the bad weather.

Seven hundred tons of diesel and an extra sixty tons of fuel in the tanker’s tanks make up its cargo. Residents report smelling strongly of fuel onshore, despite media reports suggesting no oil is visible in the water.

According to the Marine Service, it will take two days to pump the fuel from Victoria to tanks onshore. After that, the tanker’s refloating will be the main priority.

Dmitriy Lisitsyn, a local ecologist, expressed doubts about the likelihood of rescuing the ship, pointing out the high probability of an oil spill.

Reference- The Moscow Times

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