The FSO Nabarima is in danger of sinking off the coast of Venezuela with around 1.3 million barrels of oil on board. This is reported by the Fishermen and Friends of the Seas action group.

The huge tanker, which is permanently anchored in the Gulf of Pariah and used to store oil extracted there, is listing severely and about to capsize. Press agency Reuters reports that there are problems with valves on board the vessel, which is owned by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

At the end of August, the ship’s crew had already reported these problems, following a flood in the engine room. At that time, PDVSA tried to downplay the problems. The FSO Nabarima was built in 2005.

NGO says situation is urgent

NGO Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) has been trying to get the Venezuelan government to act, but so far without success. FFOS states on its Facebook page: ‘There has been so much misinformation being released by the Maduro Regime who has stated that the vessel is “stable” and which our Government seems to accept without independent verification and appears unwilling to treat the matter with urgency. There has been no verifiable third-party public disclosure regarding whether the storage of the oil is in sealed compartments and how secure those compartments are in the event of the Nabarima capsizing.’

The NGO says the situation could worsen very soon: ‘It appears that the anchor chains are taut and under extreme pressure. We shudder at the thought that if these anchor chains break or the anchor shifts, the vessel will capsize and spill the estimated 1.4M barrels into our fishery ecosystem. The Caribbean people and our marine environment are facing an accelerating danger.’

FFOS has released the video below.

Picture: The FSO Nabarima is listing off the coast of Venezuela (video still from video above by Fishermen and Friends of the Sea).

This article first appeared in Dutch on Schuttevaer, a publication of SWZ|Maritime’s publishing partner Promedia.