Oil tanker aground off Uruguay

Marshall Islands-flagged oil/chemical tanker Siteam Anja ran aground onto the rocks just 400 meters off the shore of Lobos Island, about 8 kilometers southeast of Punta del Este, Uruguay on Tuesday last week.

The 1997-built tanker was en route from San Lorenzo, Argentina to Rio Grande, Brazil with more than 32,000 m3 vegetable oil in its tanks.

Near Punta del Este the 44,640 DWT vessel suffered an engine cooling issue therefore the captain decided to head to an anchoring area nearby for inspection, the Uruguay Navy said.

However, while turning the tanker, the ship had a blackout and started to drift to the Isla de Lobos. When the captain decided to anchor the ship to control the damage, it was too late because the ship got stuck, the navy reported.

An emergency response was said to be underway with tugs and divers sent to the scene to assess the damage.

There have been no reports of injuries to the crew or an oil spill.

Initial damage assessment determined that the double bottom of the ship was breached allowing for a certain degree of water ingress. Booms have been placed at the scene to curb potential contamination from the ship.

The navy added that another tanker would be sent to the site to perform lightering operation and thus allow for the stricken tanker to be pulled free and removed.

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