A tanker has been detained by the Spanish Authorities for discharging Petroleum. The incident took place 150 miles off Las Palmas on the high seas. For now, the tanker is diverted to Almeria, but the operators are believed to pay a hefty fine.
Spain's Ministry of Transport, Mobility, and Urban Agenda (Mitma) declared that the order to divert the vessel was from its General Directorate of the Merchant Marine (DGMM) dated June 14. When the orders came in, the tanker - Aldan - was en route in the Mediterranean, bound for Piraeus. To "oversee compliance with the injunction at all times", the tanker was escorted by the Spanish navy.
Aldan was spotted reportedly discharging hydrocarbons illegally 10 days earlier by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) operating a satellite. The coordinates traced were within Spain's EEZ, 150 miles NW of La Palma. 20 square miles of ocean was polluted by the discharge, claims ministry.
An investigation by the Maritime Captaincy, Almeria has been launched to check the vessel's activities. The ship is currently detained to deposit the outstanding bond. Looking into the quantity of the contamination created the agency said, that " this is one of the highest sanctions imposed so far by the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine," to the operators
PSC officials detected problems with her charts, radio logs, charts, compass, etc. when the vessel reached Almeira. Further, drawbacks in EPIRB, liferafts, emergency generators, SART, and ISM code compliance were also found. These factors could result in extended detention.
Aldan is owned and operated by Muhit Maritime, a UAE-based single-vessel firm. The company took control of this 2003-built vessel in December. She had no history of detention before this.
In 1983, since MARPOL entered into force, it banned the discharging of untreated oily waste, marking it as a cost-saving unlawful practice. However, both high-profile players' and less eminent firms' vessels have been spotted doing this regularly aboard vessels.
Researchers of the Indian Government have claimed that cases of intentional discharge are quite frequent in the Arabian Sea by tankers, leading to chronic tarball pollution in the Goan coasts.