The stranded Fjordvik cargo ship, which ran aground near Keflavík this weekend, may yet be emptied of pollutants and hazardous materials without contaminating surrounding harbour waters, RÚV reports. Contrary to the previous belief that the ship was leaking gasoline, closer examination of the hull yesterday revealed that it is, in fact, unlikely that any of the gasoline drums on board were compromised.
The Fjordvik, which was transporting concrete, had 104 tonnes of gasoline on board. The process of pumping the gasoline off the ship has taken several days, however, as the first pump used wasn’t sufficiently powerful for the job. Ólafur Jónsson, head of the department of Nature, Ocean, and Water at the Environment Agency of Iceland, reported being hugely relieved to be able to say that the majority of the ship’s fuel had now been transferred out of its tanks. It’s thought that the slick that authorities assumed to be fuel leaking from the engine room was caused by sea water going in and out of the engine compartment and carrying engine oil and the like with it.
Now that the majority of the gasoline has been pumped out of the ship, the risk of pollution in the harbour waters has significantly decreased. “We would also like to be able to transfer other hazardous materials to land, even though there is less of a risk of them going into the sea if the ship is damaged,” said Ólafur.
Authorities have yet to decide where the Fjordvik will be moved after all the fuel and hazardous materials are removed from it. It is at great risk of sinking if moved, which would be an environmental hazard, as well as a huge financial loss. Once the fuel removal is complete, the next step will be to pump seawater out of the ship so that the full extent of its damage can be assessed.