BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -- A double-hulled tanker Azra-S. broke loose of its moorings and ran aground in a St. Kitts harbor amid high surf whipped up by a cluster of thunderstorms that threaten to form a tropical depression on October 4. No spills were reported from the stranded Azra-S tanker, which held roughly 18,000 barrels of diesel fuel and ran aground late Monday, but St. Kitts authorities were monitoring waters in Basseterre's harbor. "It broke its moorings due to rough seas and was grounded on the sea bed, just offshore. The stern is seated on the seabed and the bow is moving around," McClean Hobson, the islands' director of maritime affairs, said in a Tuesday statement. A tugboat from the nearby Dutch island of St. Eustatius was expected to arrive to dislodge the Turkish-flagged tanker. Azra-S. IMO 9403918, dwt 5850, built 2007, flag Turkey, owner Sener Petrol Denizcilik.
Azra-S arrived here late Sunday afternoon with just over 22,000 barrels of diesel for Sol and Texaco.
7 October Update
The Turkish-registered oil tanker Azra-S also remained grounded in the Basseterre Harbour as surveyors boarded the vessel and determined that an additional tug would be needed to dislodge it.
Sea conditions had not improved Thursday afternoon preventing the container ship Tropical Tide from docking at the Deep Water Port and discharging its cargo.
The Tropical Tide, which arrived from Tortola on Sunday, has been anchored out to sea riding out the heavy seas from the then sub-tropical depression which soaked St. Kitts and Nevis.
“We are presently experiencing heavy swells at the main berth. We will try again at 6 A.M. Friday to dock the Tropical Tide,” he told the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM).
He said that the surveyors who went aboard the Azra-S, which ran aground in the Basseterre harbour on Monday with 18,000 barrels of diesel, have determined that additional resources will be needed to refloat the 344-foot (105-meter) tanker.
WINN FM’s Jacque Bryan interviewed Maritime Affairs Director McClean Hobson on the issue. He said he “has no idea” if the captain of the vessel was asked to leave the port due to the weather, even though he admitted that it is the department’s responsibility to give this order. “There are times for some of the ships coming to Basseterre, the captains change so fast that the area is new to him and if the area is new to him it is very unlikely that he will try and move out,” Hobson said. “The Department of Maritime Affairs is responsible (to warn the vessel) through the hydrographic service. Every country should be offering this service but because we are underdeveloped in that area, it is difficult to give the kind of service,” Hobson said.
He explained that the vessel arrived on Sunday at 3:45pm to discharge 22,203 barrels of diesel to Texaco and Sol. Its mooring was broken on Monday evening due to the inclement weather and grounded in the general vicinity of Texaco mooring. He said they are monitoring the situation. “Where it is right now (is) very, very unstable…we are hoping that the tug will be here soonest to pull it from where it is. My understanding is that it is a double hull tanker so the chances of spilling any diesel is very, very high,” Hobson said.