The Greek-owned 75,000 tonne bulk carrier, MV Oliva, ran aground on March 16th at 04.30, at Spinners Point, on the the far north-west promontory of Nightingale Island, a 4 square kilometer island in the Tristan da Cuhna archipelago in the South Atlantic. The crew of 22 have been taken to safety on Tristan da Cuhna. As of Friday, it was reported that the MV Oliva was breaking up and that all or part of part of her 1,500 tonnes of heavy fuel oil was spilling into the water around Nightingale Island. The MV Olivia was in transit from Santos, Brazil to Singapore with a cargo of soy beans. A salvage tug is on its way from Cape Town and is expected to arrive at Nightingale on the 21st.
Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying 2,816 kilometres (1,750 mi) from the nearest land, South Africa, and 3,360 kilometres (2,088 mi) from South America. There is considerable concern about the environmental and economic impact of the grounding.
From The Tristan da Cunha Website:
Tristan Conservation Team of Simon Glass, Wayne Swain and Matthew Green are busy doing what they can to clean up Northern Rockhopper Penguins presently coming ashore smothered in oil on Nightingale Island. Penguins have finished their breeding cycle and most adults have also left the island after their annual moulting ashore. So birds would not be expected to be coming ashore at this time of year when it would be usual only to see adults leaving with their new feathers.
Another concern is the impact that the ship’s cargo of 60,000 tonnes of whole raw soya beans will have on the fragile local marine environment, especially any long-term effect on the economically valuable fishing industry for crawfish, crayfish or Tristan Rock Lobster (Jasus tristani) which is the mainstay of Tristan da Cunha’s economy.