Since the car carrier Felicity Ace sank on 1 March following a fire, no new oil spills have been observed, reports operator MOL. The tugs and salvage vessels left the site on 5 March, which will now be monitored by satellite and aircraft.
On 16th February, a fire broke out on the Panama-flagged car carrier Felicity Ace some 90 nautical miles southwest of the Azores in the Atlantic, whilst the vessel was on passage from Germany to USA. All 22 crew members were subsequently evacuated from the vessel.
After continuous firefighting operations, on 25 February, MOL reported the Smit Salvage team on site had managed to secure a towing connection. The vessel was then towed to a safe area off the Azores. However, on 1 March, the vessel suffered a list to starboard and sank around 220 nautical miles off the Azores in 3000-metre-deep waters.
Oil film and satellite monitoring
At the time of sinking, an oil film was observed on the water. According to MOL, this oil film currently remains on the sea surface and is spreading thinly and disappearing gradually. So far, no new oil spills have been confirmed.
After consultation with the relevant authorities, the tugs and salvage craft left the site on March 5. The tugs were the Bear, an anchor handling tug supply and firefighting vessel owned by Boskalis, parent company of Smit Salvage, which was towing the Felicity Ace and the two Dutch tugs ALP Guard of ALP Maritime Services and Dian Kingdom of Seacontractors. In addition, a large salvage craft with additional firefighting capability had been on site, which was the VB Hispania of Boluda sailing under the Maltese flag.
MOL says the location where the Felicity Ace sank will continue to be monitored with regular observation by satellite and aircraft.
Picture by the Portuguese Navy (Marinha Portuguesa).