Greek tanker manager Minerva Marine has issued a press statement denying Minerva Helen, named in the Israeli media, was responsible for the oil pollution that has washed up on Israel’s beaches
Pollution clean-up specialists have been clearing beaches of oil that has washed ashore from an unknown maritime source over the past week in Israel . Beaches have been closed and marine wildlife affected by the oil pollution.
Following the pollution of Israel’s coastline by a crude oil-like substance, ship tracking services quickly pin-pointed nine vessels in the area that could have been responsible for the spill.
One tanker was accused of undertaking STS operations off the coast of Israel and the authorities issued a media gagging order, said to prevent the possibility of a cover up by the tanker’s operator. That gag was lifted and Israeli media has named 2004-built, 103,600-dwt Aframax tanker Minerva Helen as the prime suspect.
This has been completely denied by the vessel’s manager Minerva Marine, which has issued the following statement, pointing out that the vessel was not loaded and not in the area during the dates in question:
Athens, Greece, 24 February 2021
In relation to the unfounded and inaccurate allegation posted in the media that M/T MINERVA HELEN (IMO No 9276561, Greek Flag) is related with the recent oil pollution incident along the coast of Israel, MINERVA MARINE INC, as managers of the vessel, states the following:
From 4 February 2021 until 11 February 2021 the vessel was drifting offshore Port Said, Egypt, awaiting voyage orders in empty condition, without any cargo on board. Drifting while awaiting orders is a routine practice for commercial vessels.
On 11 February 2021 at about 09:00 local time the vessel moved to the Port Said Anchorage, where it arrived in the afternoon remaining without any cargo on board.
On 13 February 2021 the vessel departed from Port Said and on 14 February arrived in Sidi Kerir port, Egypt where it loaded its cargo.
On 15 February 2021 the vessel sailed directly to Cartagena Spain.
During the period that the vessel was drifting offshore Port Said awaiting its next employment, the vessel was not involved in any operation nor in any other activity that could be connected to an oil discharge at sea.
The vessel is classed with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). Minerva Helen is well maintained without any structural or other defects that could cause an oil pollution incident.
It should be noted that on 22 February 2021 the vessel was inspected by the Spanish Port State Control Authorities in Cartagena and was determined to be without any deficiencies or observations, and confirmed that the vessel was in a satisfactory maintenance and operational condition without any defect.
MINERVA MARINE Inc will co-operate with any relevant authority in relation to the above.