A major environmental incident occurred on the ferry “Grbalj”, which belongs to the company “Pomorski saobracaj” from Herceg Novi, around 2.30 pm yesterday, when about 400 liters of diesel fuel spilled onto the deck from a damaged tank of one of the tankers that were on board.
According to unofficial information by "Vijesti", most of the spilled fuel ended up in the sea, but this did not provoke the reaction of the Navigation Safety Inspectorate of the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs of Kotor, which is responsible for preventing and punishing marine pollution from vessels.
“Vijesti” could not reach the General Inspector Zeljko Lompar, who did not respond to phone calls and text messages, and the management of the company “Pomorski saobracaj” said that the company’s CEO Dejan Ban was absent and that they would try to contact him and answer all questions throughout the day.
Ferry in the bay
The Maritime Safety Directorate of Montenegro was also informed about the environmental incident at the ferry “Grbalj”.
According to unofficial information, the Mercedes tanker with a semi-trailer ice-truck boarded the Grbalj ferry in Lepetani. Due to the unfavorable angle of the boarding ramp on the deck of the ferry, which is caused by high sea level, the tanker while boarding the boat, hooked the ramp with its fuel tank and punched it, which caused about 400 liters of diesel fuel to be spilled on the deck of "Grbalj", and most of it finished in the sea.
The ferry immediately sailed from Lepetani and, arriving in Kamenare, disembarked all the cars except the damaged tanker. The ferry "Grbalj" then immediately sailed again and stopped in the middle of the southern part of the strait Verige between Lepetani and Kamenari, where the ferry sailed for a long time while, according to the eyewitnesses, the crew washed the deck and flushed the spilled fuel from it into the sea.
It was all accompanied by the strong odor of diesel, to the extent that it was felt by the residents of the houses in the highest parts of Lepetani. The ferry then again arrived in Kamenari, where the tanker was unloaded from the ship and parked on the shore because, due to the penetrated fuel tank, it could not continue the journey, and the crew continued to clean and wash the deck of the ferry.
Navigation safety inspector Zeljko Lompar told “Vijesti” that he had failed to obtain material evidence that any amount of spilled fuel from the ferry had reached the sea.
Lompar secured himself by saying that he was speaking on the basis of preliminary verbal statements by the crew of the ship and those responsible from the company “Pomorski saobracaj”, that is, the driver of the damaged tanker, and specified that only about 40 liters of diesel spilled onto the deck of the ferry “Grbalj”, even though the tanker’s driver claimed that there were approximately one hundred liters of fuel in the damaged tank.
Lompar says that the spilled 40 liters of diesel were immediately collected by the crew of the ferry, scattering the fuel with sawdust and gathering it with rags, and that, according to them, not a single drop entered the sea.
When asked why the ferry sailed for more than an hour in the midst of the strait Verige, while the cleaning operation took place, or why, if there was no spillage of the fuel in the sea, the ferry was not cleaned at the port in Kamenari, Lompar just said that "the ferry could not be cleaned along the coast."
He added that he would receive the official written statements from all the actors of the incident, based on which he will then be able to make his official inspection report.
Text by Sinisa Lukovic, on November 7th, 2019, read more at Vijesti