Greece’s Minerva Marine refutes oil spill allegations in Israel

Minerva Helen in Trieste in 2017 (Photo:

Greek ship management company Minerva Marine has issued an official statement on its website in response to reports that one of its managed vessels had spilled a large quantity of oil into the waters off Israel’s Mediterranean coast late last week.

Minerva Marine said the allegations posted in the media in connection with the Aframax oil tanker Minerva Helen were all “unfounded and inaccurate.”

In the statement, the company explained that from February 4 until February 11, 2021, the vessel was drifting offshore Port Said, Egypt, awaiting voyage orders in empty condition, without any cargo on board.

Drifting while awaiting orders is a routine practice for commercial vessels, added Minerva.

On February 11 at about 09:00 local time, the vessel moved to the Port Said Anchorage, where it arrived in the afternoon without any cargo on board. It departed Port Said on February 13 and arrived the following day in Egypt’s Sidi Kerir port, where it loaded cargo.

The vessel then sailed for Cartagena, Spain, on February 15.

Minerva said that during the period that the vessel was drifting offshore Port Said awaiting its next employment, it was not involved in any operation nor in any other activity that could be connected to an oil discharge at sea.

The company added that the vessel is classed with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and is well maintained without any structural or other defects that could cause an oil pollution incident.

Minerva pointed out that on February 22, Minerva Helen was inspected by the Spanish Port State Control Authorities in Cartagena and was determined to be without any deficiencies or observations. The same port state control authorities confirmed that the vessel was in a satisfactory maintenance and operational condition without any defect.

Minerva has assured that it will cooperate with relevant authorities in relation to the incident, which left nearly 200 kilometres of Israeli coastline drenched in thick, black tar.

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