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Cargo Ship Runs Aground

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Cargo Ship Runs Aground

Photo: Still from video taken by Sjónvarp Víkurfrétta

Authorities are hoping to stem a gasoline spill at Helguvík harbor near Keflavík, RÚV reports. Gasoline is leaking from the Norwegian cargo ship Fjordvik, which was transporting concrete and ran aground this weekend.

Search and Rescue was able to rescue all 15 crew members in the early morning hours of Sunday morning—no mean feat, considering the incredibly rough sea and terrible weather conditions. Icelandic harbour pilot Jón Pétursson was aboard at the time of the accident, and said he “...wouldn’t wish [his] worst enemy” to have such an experience. Thankfully, although one rescuer did break a rib during the rescue, all of the crew members were unharmed.

Following the crew’s rescue, it was then imperative to pump the fuel off the ship to prevent further pollution to the harbour waters. There were 104 tonnes of gasoline on board and a breach in the hull has allowed some of the gasoline to leak into the harbor. The process of pumping the gasoline off the ship has taken several days, however, as the pump that were being used were not sufficiently powerful for the job. Pumping was expected to be completed by Tuesday. Authorities are monitoring the leak, referring, among other things, to images taken by divers.

The goal is to be able to move the ship as soon as possible, as the longer it remains there, the more damage it does to the harbor. Where exactly Fjordvik will be transported to remains an open question, however. Per a report in The Maritime Executive, "The local harbormaster has indicated that if Fjordvik is refloated, she cannot be towed into the port. Keflavík is the home of Iceland's main airport, and its harbor has the only terminal for aviation fuel in the country; in the event that the tow should go wrong and block the harbor entrance, flights might be grounded until the vessel could be removed."

See a video of the Fjordvik stranded in the harbor, here.

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