Transport Malta is investigating the grounding and subsequent complete hull failure of the Malta-registered Oliva, a 40,170 gross tonnage bulk carrier built in 2009, which occurred on 16 March 2011 at around 0510 local time on Nightingale Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. No injuries were reported and all twenty two crew members on board the vessel are said to be safe. As a precautionary measure, all crew was evacuated from the ship prior to the structural failure.
The Merchant Shipping Directorate of Transport Malta has been informed that the ship sustained structural damage in way of a number of ballast tanks. The damage eventually progressed into a complete structural failure. Reports also indicate that further to yesterday’s sightings, no fresh traces of oil have been observed following the hull failure.
MV Oliva is reported to have been carrying approximately 65,000 metric tonnes of soya beans. The managers of the vessel have engaged a salvage company and a salvage tug has already left Cape Town and should arrive on the accident site in about three days’ time. A salvage team is also on board the tug in order to assist in the assessment of the situation.
Officials from Transport Malta’s Merchant Shipping Directorate are following the matter very closely and are in constant contact with the managers of the ship in order to be informed of the latest developments related to the condition of the ship, the proposed salvage plan, and its implementation. The Maltese authorities will seek international cooperation in the investigation of this accident.